When Gina (right) and Ashley (third from the left) Fresquez, Miss Santa Fe 2014 and Miss Corrales 2015, aren’t going to ballet shows and competing, they’re fighting stroke and heart disease. The unstoppable mother-daughter duo are volunteers for the American Heart Association in New Mexico, and serve as members of the State Advocacy Committee.
“My grandma passed from heart disease and we thought we could raise awareness for the American Heart Association,” said Gina. “Joining the advocacy committee was a great way for us to volunteer together and give back in our own way.”
As members of the State Advocacy Committee, Gina and Ashley helped to advocate for Senate Bill 81 during this past legislative session. They knew this bill would save lives and improve care for stroke victims. SB 81, which was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Susana Martinez, allows for the development of local and regional triage and transport protocols for stroke patients, helping to ensure that stroke patients receive the quality care they need in a timely manner. Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability in New Mexico and is the #5 killer.
“We met with our representatives and we advocated for SB81. I’m so proud that we were one of the first to pass a bill like Senate Bill 81,” said Ashley. “Now it’s going across the country. We’ve met some other really great advocates and they’ve taught us so much.”
Not only do they advocate for better public policy at the New Mexico State Legislature, they take the message of healthy living and heart disease to their community. Having connections in their community, the mother-daughter team has brought the message of the American Heart Association to community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club.
“I’m excited to take our advocacy in New Mexico for the American Herat Association to Washington DC,” said Gina.
Ashley is already looking forward to future legislative sessions.
“I’m really excited about working on various CPR initiatives at the state level in New Mexico,” said Ashley. “We can save so many lives if we taught everyone hands only CPR.”