On Thursday, January 31, 2013, over 40 You’re the Cure volunteers and AHA staff met with 50 members of the Arizona Legislature at the 2013 Arizona Lobby Day. The event, held at the Arizona State Capitol, provided the AHA an opportunity to show our elected leaders the many different ways we bring the mission to the community. The AHA in Arizona worked with the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide hands-only CPR training to volunteers and legislators. In fact, during lobby day, we were able to train approximately 80 students who were at the capitol and really highlight just how easy CPR is to learn and perform.
You’re the Cure advocacy volunteers Rachel Miller, from Tucson, and Rafael “Ralphie” Rendon, from Ajo, spoke about their experiences with sudden cardiac arrest. Rachel, a mother of two and former school teacher, experienced sudden cardiac arrest in her twenties. Luckily her friend knew how to do CPR and was able to save her life. Unfortunately, her brother was not as lucky and died shortly after Rachel had her sudden cardiac arrest. Rachel went on to teach CPR in her 8th grade classroom until she left teaching. Ralphie was 14 when his heart stopped suddenly. He was at high school football practice, and remembers not feeling very good. Two weeks later, he woke up in the ICU and learned that one of his coaches had saved his life with hands-only CPR. These individuals were able to highlight why it is so important that everyone learn how to do hands-only CPR. As a result of their stories, and the experience of learning CPR themselves during the event, several of the legislators that attended our lobby day were supportive of the CPR in schools effort and are considering signing on to the bill.
The event was capped of by the reading and unanimous adoption of the Arizona Wear Red Resolution, championed by the House Health Chair, Representative Heather Carter. Representative Carter has led the effort in raising awareness for heart disease and stroke in the Arizona Legislature for the past two years. After the resolution was read and adopted by both the Arizona House and the Senate, some of the female members gathered in the courtyard of the Capitol to highlight the red fashions they were wearing for the occasion. Congratulations to the entire Phoenix and Tucson staff that helped make this event possible.
- Nicole Olmstead, Arizona Government Relations Director