Hope is Why!
What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?
I was initially interested in the stroke program at the American Heart and Stroke Association. As an online researcher and healthcare communications professional, I have a strong passion for neurology. In addition to helping provide research and awareness, I help manage social media accounts that provide preventative healthcare information. My goal is to help strengthen patients and families who are experiencing a health crisis. For three years, I have been on the Multicultural Leadership Committee.
What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?
I am most interested in smoking cessation initiatives. Tobacco has serious and definite risk factors. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke as in adults it causes coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.” Those walking through the Chicago Loop often find themselves behind a smoker, passing one, or next to one at a stoplight. Although indoor smoking is prohibited throughout Illinois, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.
My second passion issue is addressing the food-insecure areas that are mostly located on Chicago’s south and west sides. Those who live in a food-insecure area, or “food desert,” have limited access to fresh vegetables and fruits. The lack of access to quality food is related to a rise of cardiovascular-related illnesses.
What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?
My favorite memory came at the 2016 Most Powerful Voices Concert & Health Fair Expo. While I was there, I walked around and took photos. I captured images of people receiving free massages, learning CPR, and getting educated. Afterward, I had the pleasure of sharing the photos and the experience on social media. This event was free for the community and a great way to raise education and spread awareness. I was happy to share it and help encourage others to get involved in their own health.
What is your favorite way to be active?
Walking is the best way for me to get around since I live in an urban area. I walk every day. Not only is it the best way to commute, the benefits make it even better. Enjoying the outdoors, attending street festivals, and meeting new people are just a few of the perks of walking. Of course, the health benefits are nice, too!
What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?
I love the many different tastes and textures found in all fruits and vegetables. A few of my favorites include: honey crisp apples, peaches, strawberries, celery, leafy or creamed spinach, and broccoli.