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Tonya Ware, Madison

Our 2018-19 Mississippi Advocacy Committee is composed of individuals from across the state with different occupations, who have a great interest in advocating for policy change for heart-health issues. Throughout the year, we will introduce some of our members. Today, we'd like you to meet Tonya Ware.

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Occupation: Executive Pastor, Recording Artist, & Project Manager

Many people choose to volunteer for the American Heart Association because they’ve been impacted by heart disease or stroke. Do you have a personal connection to our nation’s No. 1 and 5 killers? If so, we’d love to hear it! I collapsed with sudden cardiac arrest at 38-years old, died in my master bathroom and was revived! I could go in more detail, but I promise you, it'd be better if you'd watch my story! 

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. What’s yours? What is your WHY? I have two daughters, Wisdom and Wealth. I am a wife, a pastor, and a recording artist with fans who hope to hear me perform for years to come. Mostly, I am a woman and I want to help other women live healthier, longer lives.

How long have you been volunteering for the American Heart Association? Since February 2017. 

What interests you about advocating for policies that help create healthier communities and protect heart disease and stroke patients? I spent seven years as a virtual shut in trying to reclaim my health. I had never been taught the signs of sudden cardiac arrest, so I ignored them. I am sure God let me live for a reason. A big part of that reason, I believe, is to help push for laws and funding so others can have a second chance at life too. The fact that one voice and one vote can make a world of difference inspires me! I love being trained and prepared to speak on issues that impact large groups of people. When I was sick for all those years, my husband was my advocate. I would not be alive today had he not giving of his time. 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Reviewing training models and going to the movies.

What does your perfect day look like? Wake up, shower, pray, and read. Drop my girls off at school, grab a smoothie, and head to Washington, D.C. to speak on Capitol Hill about important medical bills. Have a Starbucks's Strawberry Refresher, check-in on all the leadership teams I serve with, have a vegan dinner, and watch Blue Bloods with my husband.

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