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GUEST BLOG: From My Heart - A Month of Heart!

This month we have been celebrating and advocating during American Heart Month and I am so honored to write my fourth blog post for the American Heart Association about the happenings here in Arkansas during this special time of year. I kicked off my February by hosting my first ever “House Party with HEART”.

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I was able to invite family and friends over to discuss the impact of heart disease in our state and how we can continue to spread awareness in our community about the advocacy efforts of the AHA to create a healthier Arkansas. We listened to one another and shared touching stories about heart disease affecting our own loved ones. Also, I asked Adyson "Ady" Coleman to become my Diamond State Princess for Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen this summer. Ady was born with a Congenital Heart Defect and is a rockstar heart survivor that advocates with the AHA like me, so it is so amazing that I get to stand next to a girl who is already my hero. I am so excited for all the memories to come with this little one!! The conversations at our House Party with HEART were unforgettable, and I would encourage everyone to consider hosting a house party with your village! Contact Allison.Hogue@heart.org for more info.

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A few days later, I was able to attend the Go Red for Women Survivor Unveiling for 2018 and Advocacy Lunch & Learn at the Arkansas State Capitol. At this event, I was blessed with the incredible opportunity to take over the @YoureTheCureAR Twitter account for the AHA! I tweeted 43 times in the course of just a few hours because there was just so much to share (my fingers were a little tired by the end of the day). I was able to cover the eight different survivors, amazing speakers and the advocacy training where we learned how to advocate not just during the month of February but 365 days a year. The eight survivors were extraordinary women of all ages who have survived a heart disease or stroke.

The survivors honored this year are: Rachel Hampton, Gale Scott, Alamae Harris, Kellye Neal, Linda Garrett, Emily Harmon, Carter Cox, and Ashley Salter. I was able to meet each survivor that day and loved hearing their incredible stories! The inspiring speakers included First Lady Susan Hutchinson, Joyce Taylor, Phyllis Rogers, Susie Fehlig, Senator Joyce Elliott, Representative Charlene Fite, and the emcee, Becky Rogers. They all gave amazing talks about how heart health is the number one killer of men and women and how we need to spread this message everywhere we go.

At the Advocacy Lunch & Learn, Keturah White who is a young stroke survivor, shared her moving story. Her energy and enthusiasm about sharing with others about heart health is totally contagious! AHA staff shared specific ways we could get involved on social media, by email and in the community. My day at the Capitol is one that I will never forget!

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On February 22, my friends at Belle & Blush in Little Rock provided a unique fundraising opportunity for the American Heart Association. I was able to greet customers and tell them tiny tips to protect their heart. We had so much fun shopping, learning more about skin care, and even gave away a prize package that included a hydrafacial. This was such a fun way to raise money and share my H.E.A.R.T. message to help prevent heart disease! Thanks to Merry Kline and Brandon Golden for allowing me to do this. Make sure to stop by Belle & Blush located at the Promenade At Chenal for any of your makeup and skincare needs and tell them I sent you!! You can also shop them on-line at www.belleandblush.com. Thanks to all those who came out on that rainy night to show your support!

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I’m so grateful for all that I’ve learned and experienced during this special month and hope each of you will take advantage of all the incredible opportunities each of us have all year long to bring awareness and educate others about heart disease.

Today, I challenge each of you to join me and get involved with the lifesaving advocacy work of the American Heart Association. Add your voice by simply texting ABBY to 46839 right now or visit yourethecure.org/join. It only takes a few moments, and you will be a part of a powerful movement to save lives. 

I can't wait to talk to you all in March as I look forward to traveling to Oklahoma where I will speak to the Oklahoma City Sweetheart Class of 2018 at their annual lobby day at the Oklahoma State Capitol about my journey as a young advocate with the American Heart Association and revisit my own Sweetheart moments at the Central Arkansas Heart Ball on March 10th! 

All my heart,

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