Bill Forester, Ohio
Bill Forester recalls the moment he heard the doctors tell his family that he was gone. At 51-years-old, he was a college professor, realtor, director of labor and public speaker who led a healthy lifestyle. "I was a vegetarian, I ran and I never smoked," said Bill, which is why it was such a shock when he had a stroke that left him in a coma for three days.
Garry Beltz, Ohio
At 72 years young, Garry Beltz is no stranger to speaking up for causes he believes in. When he lost his wife to cancer, his world was changed forever. He turned his grief to advocacy, initially with the American Cancer Society and then, after becoming a heart disease survivor himself, to the American Heart Association. As a passionate voice for change, Garry has attended Congressional Lobby Days in Washington, D.C. 23 times, most recently this past May when he joined nearly 400 advocates from across the country for AHA's You're the Cure on the Hill.
Felicia Guerrero, Ohio
As an active You’re the Cure Advocate and Physician Outreach and Marketing Liaison for the University of Toledo, Felicia Guerrero is no stranger to speaking up for improved health for Ohio’s kids and communities. So, it was no surprise that Felicia jumped at the chance to deliver “lunch” (a lunch bag of puzzle pieces representing healthy school meals) to both U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur’s and U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s offices in support of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Tony Lindeman, Ohio
The morning of September 29, 2012, started like all my previous 16,911 days as I woke up before my alarm, jumped out of bed and was soon ready to take on the challenges of the day. My first challenge that day was completing my eighth marathon in Akron, Ohio. I was prepared to run the marathon after completing the same extensive marathon training I did each year since 2007.
Lee Meadows, Ohio
After my recovery from open heart surgery in 1999, I wanted to give back the support that I received so I joined Mended Hearts, a group that offers much needed emotional support to those recovering from heart disease. I have been an accredited visitor in local hospitals ever since, am also a You’re the Cure advocate for the American Heart Association and am a past board member.
Heather Vilvens, Ohio
When I attended my first American Heart Association You’re the Cure Advocacy Day in March of 2011, I had never set foot in the Riffe Center or State House, let alone talked to my state legislators. I felt very nervous and intimidated when I registered for the day’s events, but I knew it was something I had to do as a health educator--after all, one of our core responsibilities is to “Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education.”
Annette and Rebekah Salser, Ohio
Rebekah was pink at birth. The only negative I heard was that she was an 8 out of 10 on the scale they judge the quickness for babies to turn pink. The pediatrician wasn’t concerned because it was not "unusual." I didn't know what a pulse oximeter was in 1985, and I don't remember ever seeing one when in the hospital following her birth. I do know that when she had her first surgery at 8 months, a pulse oximeter was placed on her foot, so I know they existed. Had one been available, I have to believe Rebekah would have been diagnosed before we left the hospital to bring her home.
Anthony Campagna, Ohio
I am a proud supporter of AHA and with good reason. When I graduated from high school in 2000, I was almost 300 lbs. I was unhealthy, unhappy, and antisocial. I blamed myself for my condition; every diet I tried failed and I took it personally.
Tara Stuttler, Ohio
On October 29, 2007, at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney, Ohio, a new life joined our family. We named him Devin and fell in love with him instantly. Unlike when his older brother Craig was born, Devin did not want to eat and just seemed too tired. We thought it was due to the long, exhausting labor and just continued to attempt nursing here and there. The doctors, pediatricians, and nurses all thought he looked well each time they checked him.
Eric Vaiksnoras, Ohio
My name is Eric Vaiksnoras, and my life has been significantly impacted by cardiovascular disease. Five months after my son was born, my 27-year-old wife Julie died suddenly from a cardiac arrest caused by a heart disease called cardiomyopathy. This was a devastating loss, and left me as a 30-year-old young widower and single dad.