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Joan Cuba Richardson, New Jersey

 

My involvement in the American Heart Association stems from a combination of events in my life.  Twenty-five years ago my mother passed away at the age of 51.  She died of a heart attack due to complications from juvenile diabetes.  Diabetics tend to suffer "silent heart attacks".   My brother died in 1996 at the age of 34 of a massive heart attack.  In 2000, my father suffered TIAs (mini-strokes).
 
I decided it was time to help AHA in any way I could so others would not have to see their loved ones pass on or suffer from heart disease and/or stroke.  I started as a Heart Walk participant and collected donations for the Go Red for Women campaign.  In 2011, I became a You're the Cure advocate, reaching out to lawmakers to stress the importance of heart health and advocating for passage of health conscious laws.  I was especially passionate about one in particular.  Janet's Law, which recently passed in NJ, was named after 11 yr. old Janet Zilinski, who passed away suddenly after cheerleading practice.  Janet's Law mandates that AEDs be present at all school sponsored sporting events and be accessible whenever a school is opened for such events.  Being an advocate for AHA has been personally rewarding to me and I have met a lot of nice people along the way.  I am looking forward to help even more in the future!

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