At the age of 14, after going in for a routine check-up with my eye doctor that turned into a week of several medical tests, I was diagnosed with arrhythmia of the heart.
hero_image_alt_text===Miss Polk County, Emmy Cuvelier headshot
thumbnail_alt_text===Miss Polk County, Emmy Cuvelier headshot
bottom_action===Miss Polk County, Emmy Cuvelier headshot
At the time, it didn’t really mean much to me! I was an active high school teen, and the last thing I wanted to worry about was my heart health. What I didn’t realize, though, is that my condition placed me at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke in my future. I also didn’t realize that there were so many preventative actions that I could be taking to stop these things from happening. A few short years later, that changed. In a very short time span, I lost two of my incredible grandparents to heart related issues, as well as my best friend’s amazing father, just like that. That was far more than the eye opener I needed to realize how prevalent heart-related issues are in our country.
As a titleholder with the Miss America Organization, I knew I had the opportunity to use my voice to make a difference and teach women like myself how to take care of their hearts and avoid their number one killer. I decided to create my very own platform called Queen of Hearts: Women’s Heart Health and CPR Education, and that is what inspired me to reach out and get involved with the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women movement. I dove in head first, and I am so thankful that I did. Since getting involved as a volunteer and advocate with this organization, I’ve been given countless opportunities to make positive change that I never would have anticipated. I’ve been fortunate enough to volunteer at many Go Red for Women events across the state, serve as a member of the Story County Go Red for Women Committee, and even work as an advocate in legislation at the Iowa State Capitol, where I saw the Stroke Quality Care Bill become law as it was signed by Governor Branstad just last spring.
My work with the American Heart Association has also inspired me to take my role as a heart health advocate to another level outside of my AHA volunteering. I am now a published author of two children’s books, Maggie the Monkey Meditates and Harper the Heart Health Hero, which I use in conjunction with a K-12 heart health school program that I have developed to educate school-aged children on heart health and CPR in a fun, interactive way! Additionally, I’ve facilitated CPR training sessions, hosted fundraisers, and spoken to several groups and organizations about my mission.
As I’ve done with my past titles, I will continue to use my current role as Miss Polk County 2018 to bring light to heart disease and stroke in any way I possibly can, and I look forward to seeing all of the opportunities I am presented to do so. With the ultimate goal of becoming Miss Iowa 2018, and hopefully Miss America, my biggest ambition is to spread my platform nationally to all ages and continue my diligent work with the American Heart Association throughout my lifetime. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to share my story, and I can’t wait to see what is to come next!