Meet Lorean Mays of Chattanooga, professional model, speaker and advocate who serves on our 2016-2017 Tennessee Advocacy Committee.
How long have you been a volunteer with the American Heart Association and in what capacity? I have volunteered with the American Heart Association for seven years. During this time, I have served on the local Heart Ball Committee, served as a Heart/Stroke Ambassador, attended federal lobby days and volunteered for AHA-related events.
Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the AHA? My mother, grandmother and uncle are my “why,” as well as those in my community who aren’t aware of the life changing effects of heart disease and stroke.
What heart healthy issue is most important to you and why? I cannot say that one issue is more important to me than another. I come from a family that has been impacted by severe strokes, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure on both my maternal and paternal sides. I feel that it is my duty to not only honor those who have passed with my advocacy work, but also those whose lives I might help save.
What are two ways you keep yourself healthy? Two major ways I keep myself healthy are by working out two-three times a week with a personal trainer and eating a healthy balanced diet.
How is your community healthy that makes you proud? The City of Chattanooga has started several programs to engage those in their senior years at risk for various diseases. These programs consist of line dancing classes, Zumba, water aerobics, etc. Also more people are becoming committed to being the healthiest they can be. I see more people running and walking downtown during their lunch breaks, bicycling to work, and simply out in the fresh air moving.
How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? I stay up to date via our state website, CDC, NIH, and other health-related resources.
If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? I would advocate for more support of the Stroke Registry and healthy school meals and snacks.
Do you have a favorite American Heart Association event you annually attend? What is your motivation to participate? My two favorite events are ANY of the Go Red Luncheons and of course our local Heart Ball. I also attended the official Red Dress Fashion Show in New York this year!
Have you attended a state or federal lobby day on behalf of the AHA? I proudly have represented the State of Tennessee at two federal lobby days in Washington, D.C. I was able speak with members of Congress on the importance of supporting the NIH funding for heart disease and stroke research, and had the opportunity to get to know them better.
What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate? I have learned A LOT about the strides that the American Heart Association has truly made and the direct impact and importance of volunteers like myself.
Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure? I recruit by asking people “Do you want to save a life?” That usually gets their undivided attention. I ask that question because that is at the heart of what we all sign up to do. We not only advocate to change the face of heart disease and stroke, but we are literally out here trying to save more lives.
Tell us one unique thing about yourself. I am an introvert. LOL.