Meet one of our top advocates, Dawn Moen!
What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?
Growing up I was a lifeguard and had to take American Heart Association CPR certifications that were offered in my area. Seven years ago I began participating in the Twin Cities Heart Walk as part of a friend's team who had a child that had complications with his heart. Because I teach fitness classes in my spare time, about five years ago I was asked to do the warm up for the Twin Cities Heart Walk at Target Field for several years before switching my efforts to more of a policy and advocacy role for the Heart Association. The great news is that heart disease is for the most part preventable through diet and exercise and so advocating for policies that make the healthy choice the easier choice are a win/win that make me feel like I am making a difference.
What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?
Safe Routes to School, active transportation and walking and biking advocacy are my passion. A healthy lifestyle can be attributed in large part to being physically active and there is no easier physical activity than walking or biking. Having adequate pedestrian and biking infrastructure surround our schools and major community hubs will ensure that our children have access to some of the cheapest and easiest forms of physical activity. This can instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime thus preventing the diseases that accompany a sedentary lifestyle as they grow.
What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?
I would have to say it is a tie between doing the warm up for the Twin Cities Heart Walk in front of over 10,000 people on Target Field and the Healthy Kids Coalition Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Both were incredible for very different reasons. The Health Kids Coalition Lobby Day was an incredible experience where I was able to see activism in action! Meeting with our legislators to explain the importance of Safe Routes to School and active transportation as well as testifying before the House Transportation Committee made me see that my voice mattered. Doing the Twin Cities Heart Walk warm up at Target Field in front of thousands of enthusiastic participants that came from different walks of life but shared a common goal was exhilarating!
What is your favorite way to be active?
I love running, biking, swimming and teaching group fitness classes. Having a newborn baby in the house I have also recently rediscovered an appreciation for a nice long walk with my children where we are able to talk.
What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?
Nothing beats a crunchy Minnesota-grown Honeycrisp apple.