Reid Derrick, Youth Advocate Allstar

The desire to serve knows no bounds, and that is evident in Reid Derrick.  A seventeen-year-old from South Carolina, Reid defines what it means to make a difference – which is exactly what he does with You’re the Cure.

hero_image_alt_text===Reid Derrick youth advocate
thumbnail_alt_text===Reid Derrick youth advocate

The son of Advocacy Committee Chairwoman Stacey Derrick, Reid has become an incredibly strong advocate in his own right.  In addition to serving as the Battalion Commander for Batesburg-Leesville High School Army JROTC program, Reid joins Stacey to advocate for numerous AHA life-saving policies: most notably his passion around Ronald Rouse’s Law, the CPR in Schools bill passed in 2016.

The moment he became personally passionate about CPR was a remarkably sad one.  Two days after he initially spoke to the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children in support of hands-only CPR in schools, he and his mother and younger brother were witnesses to a head-on car collision.  Reid witnessed his mom administering CPR to a child who had been a passenger of the car hit by an 18-wheeler. In that moment Reid was involved in the emergency response chain, and his passion was ignited at an even higher level.

Reid’s passion for the AHA, however, began far before this moment.  Stacey, a heart survivor, experienced a SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) heart attack when Reid was very young.  Her recovery and subsequent passion for cardiovascular disease prevention and research inspired in Reid a thirst for a lifelong pattern of volunteer work and serving others.  He shares that once he became old enough to really understand how serious his mom’s condition was, he was so grateful that there were organizations like the American Heart Association advocating for new research and policy.  He adds, “I think my mom may not be here if not for the research that had been done.”

Reid has partnered with You’re the Cure on a variety of opportunities, including a personal letter campaign on Father’s Day to all legislators around the importance of tobacco control.  Additionally, he has spoken at the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children twice, participated in Federal and State Lobby Day, and has taught hands-only CPR at the South Carolina State Fair.

Reid is a shining example of why age is no indication of an advocate’s strength.  The moment he felt like he had truly made a difference was when the CPR bill he advocated for passed. It made him feel proud to have helped.

The beauty of You’re the Cure and advocacy within the American Heart Association is that the ability to invest in our life-saving policies is something we offer to advocates across the country – and we hope that they will feel as significant in policy success as Reid has.

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