Southwest Region Advocates at the Capitol

More than 30 American Heart Association advocates and staff from the Southwest Region joined with others from across the country in Washington D.C., last week to ask Congress to support legislation that would improve the chain of survival in K-12 campuses.

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The advocates, which including cardiac arrest survivors, family members who have lost a loved one and health care providers, are part of the American Heart Association’s national grassroots network, You’re the Cure.

During last week’s meetings on Capitol Hill, advocates shared their personal stories and urged elected officials to swiftly pass the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Research and Training in the Schools Act or HEARTS Act (H.R. 6829) and the Access to AEDs Act (S. 1024), the former of which was approved unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March.

The group emphasized the need for comprehensive legislation, such as the HEARTS Act and Access to AEDs Act, to support CPR and AED training in K-12 schools, enable the purchase of AEDs for use in schools, foster new and existing community partnerships to promote the importance of defibrillation in schools and create cardiac emergency response plans, which can help reduce death from cardiac arrest in school settings.

Every year, more than 356,000 people living in the U.S. experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, including up to 23,000 children. Early access to 911 and immediate CPR are the first two links in the chain of survival. For every minute without CPR, the chances of survival drop by 10%.

The American Heart Association created the Nation of Lifesavers initiative with the goal of doubling cardiac arrest survival rates by 2030.

Advocates and staff from each state are listed below. Region Vice President, Field Advocacy, Rica Trigs headed the contingent.

Arkansas: Sophe Sligh, Cori Keller, Kelli Pierce and Grassroots Senior Region Lead Allison Hogue

Colorado: Anne Hebert, Steve Hebert, Maragret Forbes, Denver Marketing Communications Director Lyndsey Albright, Colorado Government Relations Director Eric Heydorn

New Mexico: Shayai Lucero, Ray Henderson, Manuel Barriga II, Liz Nauman and Region Grassroots Manager Chris Turner

Oklahoma: Cheri Shepard and Deshawn Caldwell

Texas: Almeda Giles, Deya Williams, Pamela Williams, Audrey Tabor, Amanda Tabor, Jaelene Dismuke, Chloe Burke, Daisy Sudderth, Andre Scott, Andre Scott Sr., Courtney Kennerson, Tori Schoolcraft, Yamaceeta Thompson, Southwest Region Executive Vice President Tanya Edwards, Colton Edwards, Elizabeth Smith and Texas Government Relations Director Alec Puente

Wyoming: Tony Perry

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