Earlier this month, four special advocates were recognized and awarded for their commitment and achievements at the American Heart Association’s annual Hero’s Awards Dinner that took place in conjunction with our You’re the Cure on the Hill event in Washington, D.C.
2019 Volunteer Advocate of the Year - Peg O'Connell
This award is given to an individual who has made a generous commitment of time, energy, and talent to assist AHA in advocating directly to key lawmakers on Heart and Stroke issues. Peg has been an AHA volunteer in North Carolina for more than 25 years, and when it comes to advancing the AHA's policy goals at the local, state, and federal level, she's done it all from White House events to lobby days to stuffing packets. The loss of Peg’s husband to a stroke in 2009 fueled an even stronger commitment to the AHA. She is a passionate, dedicated powerhouse for prevention and systems policy change.
2019 Survivor Advocate of the Year - John Murphy
This award is given to an individual who has made an exceptional commitment to support our legislative priorities and has shared their personal story of heart disease or stroke to raise awareness and advance public policy. John is a stroke survivor and for over a decade has been a relentless, passionate advocate for the AHA. He's a regular at our state lobby day event, a volunteer on local campaigns, and is always ready to represent at the Texas State Capitol and at the City Hall in Austin. John is a member of the Texas advocacy committee and the Austin grassroots action team, and has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during Stroke Awareness Month and by the American Stroke Association.
2019 Youth Advocate of the Year - Abigail Davis
This award is given to a young person who is engaged in advocating on behalf of AHA on Heart and Stroke issues with their lawmakers at the state and federal level. Inspired by the loss of her grandfather to heard disease, Abby is an active volunteer in Arkansas who has advocated for a number of policy issues ranging from physical education assessment to raising the sales age for tobacco products to 21. For many years she has published monthly posts for the You’re the Cure blog, inspired her peers and adults alike to get involved with the AHA. Whether it is speaking to large crowds at state lobby day events, or to small groups of potential advocates, Abby shows relentless commitment to engaging in advocacy.
2019 Science Advocate of the Year - Dr. Edward Jauch
This award is given to an advocate who conveys to lawmakers the vital role of medical research funding in discovering prevention methods, treatments and cures for heart disease and stroke. Dr. Jauch worked tirelessly for more than a decade to ensure the passage and implementation of a statewide stroke system of care in South Carolina. He is a long-time AHA volunteer and has previously served as a Mid-Atlantic Affiliate board member, president of the Charleston board and currently serves on the Southeast Region board of directors.