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Advocate Spotlight: Bernée Thurow

We are excited to shine a light on an American Heart Association advocate that has a real passion for the mission of our organization. We are pleased to introduce to you, Bernée Thurow.

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Bernée Thurow at a baseball park

Occupation: Interior Designer and Executive State Director for the Arkansas International Pageant Organization

Hometown: Originally from Osceola, Arkansas but now I call North Little Rock home.             

Favorite movie: I am a hopeless romantic.  If I want to laugh I watch, Sweet Home Alabama, it is a great romantic comedy.  I love the line, “So I can kiss you anytime I want.”  If I want to cry, then most definitely, The Notebook.

Hobbies: I love to paint abstracts, read and cook with my husband. I should say he cooks and I eat!

Pets: I love pets and have had several dogs and cats over the years.

Kiddos: Step children, Brian 36 and Anna 33.  My husband and I are new grandparents, too.  I was blessed with an immediate family when my husband and I got married 23 years ago. 

Role model: My Mom has always been my biggest supporter.  She is a very smart, beautiful and strong woman.  We are both cancer survivors.  She taught me that no matter what happens, pray first and then get up and start moving forward.  Her glass is always half full and I try to live my life the same way.  Both of her parents died of heart disease and stroke.

Bernée Thurow with other pageant contestants

Greatest achievement: That is a great question.  Professionally, I received my degree in Public Relations in 1980, worked as a Flight Attendant for 16 years and have been directing Teen, Miss and Mrs. Arkansas Contestants with the International pageant for 28 years where I am able to impact lives, mentor and educate women of all ages about the importance of their value and community service work.  They are my legacy.

Personally, I was first diagnosed with Melanoma at the age of 30 and had a relapse 8 years later in my lymph nodes. I had surgery in my left leg where they took out all my lymph nodes in the groin and thigh, then spent 52 weeks receiving chemotherapy. I am 21 years cancer free and the entire experience was one of my greatest accomplishments. Surviving is a way of life.

Bernée Thurow, pageant contestants, and a doctor

Who would I want to have dinner with?  Past or present?  I miss seeing my grandparents and I lost all of them when I was in my twenties due to heart attacks, stroke or cancer.  I love everything about my ancestry and I am obsessed about finding out my heritage. I would love to gather around the table and laugh with them and be a better listener.  Of course, I would have the food delivered because I don’t cook.

Favorite AHA event and why? I love everything. The Go Red for Women Luncheon is an inspirational event when we all gather to show our support as women and sisters by bringing awareness.   Anytime I can share the story that 1 and 3 women will die of heart disease I know I am saving lives.  I also love the Heart Walk.  We have a team every year and there are lots of great activities that help teach us to know our numbers and what to do in case of a heart attack or stroke. People tell me they don’t have time to volunteer and that is when I give them the number to text to become a You're The Cure advocate for AHA.  It is that easy. In fact you can do it right now by texting CROWN to 46839 or CLICK HERE and in just moments you will be an advocate, too!

Fellow American Heart Association advocate and Teen Arkansas International, Maggie Williams had this to say about Bernée, "From day one, Mrs. Bernee has been a fabulous mentor. She selflessly has worked very hard to do everything in her power to support me and my goals. Not only does she see and encourage my passion for Heart Health Awareness, but she shares it. Her passion for the American Heart Association and healthy living is so inspiring, and it’s wonderful to share this interest with her. I am a very lucky girl to have Mrs. Bernee in my life!"

Bernée Thurow and other pageant contestants outside

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