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Family and Community is why

Karalee Harper is the new Chair of the North Dakota Advocacy Committee. Read below to know why she got involved with the American Heart Association and what her favorite advocacy experience is!

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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I became an advocate for the American Heart Association because I have a strong family history of heart disease.  My mother died in 2015 after battling with heart disease for 28 years, including having her first open heart surgery at the age of 59. Most recently, my brother has had two stents placed within a year and a half at the age of 47. 

I also have had cardiac ablation twice within an 8 month period, before the age of 40.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

I am passionate about Cardiac Ready Communities across the state of North Dakota. Growing up in a rural community, it is very important to me that rural residents have immediate care for cardiac related issues.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

I enjoy educating decision makers, including testifying during the North Dakota Legislative session.  In 2017, HB 1210 was passed regarding Cardiac Ready Communities.  Having the ceremonial bill signing with Govenor Bergum has been a highlight thus far.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Swimming in the summer with my family and using the XBox Active with my sons in the winter is how I enjoy being active.

 What is your favorite fruit or vegetable and any tips for how you serve or prepare it?

Any type of melon is my favorite fruit: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc. 

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