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A head shot of a young brunette woman

Willow Peterson – Junior at Montana State University Billings

Tobacco prevention and education work has been a major focus point in my life for seven years. In 8th grade, I joined my local tobacco prevention club. As I started high school, my classmates began to use tobacco products. Some of my close family members and friends got addicted to nicotine at a very young age. Seeing them cough until vomiting, having trouble breathing, and using any means to feed their addiction had a powerful impact on me. It hurt me to see them abuse an addictive product that would negatively impact their physical and mental health. As a result, I became a passionate health advocate.

I have had the great honor of working with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. As a sophomore in high school, I was chosen to represent Montana in their annual Youth Advocacy Symposium. I was flown out to Washington D.C. to work with other passionate youth from around the country. This program consists of a week of in-depth training from professionals and opportunities to talk to legislators at the federal level. I met with Senator Jon Tester to discuss how flavored tobacco is negatively impacting the lives of teens and young adults in Montana. I was asked to return in 2017 and 2018. This year, I joined as a Young Adult Ambassador. With help from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, I had the amazing opportunity to talk about my advocacy work in an interview with our local news station.

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hero_image_alt_text===A head shot of a young brunette woman
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Dr. Hooks-Anderson

Meet Dr. Hooks-Anderson

Dr. Hooks-Anderson is a Family Physician and the President of American Heart Association’s Board of Directors in St. Louis, MO. She is a community leader and vocal advocate for better health policy, having been instrumental in the work of the American Heart Association over the past several years.

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Candice

Candice A. Battiste, JD

In Shreveport, Louisiana, most businesses are preparing to go smoke-free by August 8th thanks to a local ordinance passed earlier this summer.

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Picture of Alyssa at Lobby Day

Alyssa Fernandes

In this month’s volunteer spotlight we are featuring Alyssa Fernandes. You may recognize her photo and name if you are from New Hampshire because she is the current Miss New Hampshire USA. She is also a registered dietitian.

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hero_image_alt_text===Picture of Alyssa at Lobby Day
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Pam Duncan

Dr. Pam Duncan, advocate extraordinaire

Dr. Pam Duncan has an incredible zest for life.  An educated physical therapist turned stroke researcher, all one needs to do is spend a few minutes in her company to see her passion for making a difference in the lives of stroke patients.

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Kate Mushala

Meet Young Stroke Survivor, Kate Mushala

While at work, I felt a rush in the back of my neck/head like a fizzy drink with the start of total confusion. I went back to my desk and tried to work but was too disoriented. After several minutes, I stumbled to my manager’s office. At that time, I sat down and tried to say, “something is wrong.” That’s the moment, I realized my speech was unrecognizable.

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hero_image_alt_text===Kate Mushala
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Picture of Pamela Dell

Advocate Spotlight: Pamela Dell

Just as I was beginning to become overly stir crazy from the "stay at home" order and my high risk condition, a request was presented to share my story regarding my support of the American Heart Association and my efforts to make a difference as a survivor.

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A picture of Taryn

Advocate Spotlight: Taryn Bewley

My advocacy journey with the American Heart Association began five years ago. At the age of sixteen, I joined the AHA Grassroots Action Team in Arkansas knowing I wanted to advocate for heart health in my state and for my family. As an avid runner, both on the Ouachita Baptist University Cross Country team and in half marathons with my dad, I’m constantly working to improve my own heart health through physical fitness but knew becoming an advocate with the AHA was a way to make a difference through the public policy process.

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Ruby Johnson

Ruby Johnson: A Voice in the Fight Against Youth Vaping

The experience of sending our first child off to college this past fall was a life changing experience… but not in the way I ever expected.

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hero_image_alt_text===Ruby Johnson
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Jill Duis

Advocate Spotlight: Jill Duis

Occasionally I’m asked about my passion for AHA. Why I volunteer, why I believe in the organization and why I travel, speak, walk, jump rope, sponsor and participate. In a society that constantly questions what’s in it for me, I’m happy to share. First and foremost, what’s in it for me is you. Every year I get the privilege and honor of speaking with people young and old about heart disease and the opportunity to tell them my story.

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