We're excited that LaTonja "Toni" Richardson, of Jacksonville, has agreed to serve as Chair of our 2017-18 Florida Advocacy Committee. Toni is a proud mother, Service Advocate at Florida Blue, and dedicated You're the Cure advocate.
How long have you been a volunteer with the AHA and in what capacity? I have been a volunteer, advocate and spokeswoman for six years.
Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the AHA? I want all women to be healthy and lead. I volunteer because I want those who look like me to understand the seriousness of heart disease and stroke and how it affects women of color.
What heart healthy issue is most important to you and why? CPR in Schools because it saves lives.
What are two ways you keep yourself healthy? Meditation and walking.
How is your community healthy that makes you proud? I am proud that I get to meet different people from all walks of life, socioeconomic backgrounds to 'talk" about how we as a community can and will become the healthiest community.
How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? I stay current by reading information from the AHA website and keeping an open communication with the local AHA and serving on the Advocacy Subcommittee.
If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? For Hands-Only CPR in all schools. It is important for our youth to have those skills.
Do you have a favorite AHA/ASA event you annually attend? What is your motivation to participate? My favorite event is the Heart Walk because I see those who want to make a difference by walking with me to fight this disease. My life is my motivator.
What have you learned in your time being a You're the Cure advocate? Always learning that anyone can advocate and more people are needed to be a voice to make a change.
Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You're the Cure? Because your life and heart matters.
Tell us one unique thing about yourself. I have a daughter who wants to be the first African-American to go to Mars and I love volunteering for AHA!