Believe it or not, I remember writing my first email to the You’re the Cure network more than 12 years ago. I had moved to Washington, D.C. with my husband and was so excited to help lead a grassroots program. Fast forward to today, and a lot has changed.
Thinking back, there are many You’re the Cure accomplishments to be proud of, so let me share a few. Nationally, we’ve passed laws giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products and keep our kids tobacco free. We’ve secured increases for medical research funding for heart disease and stroke patients. States have seen tremendous success in passing laws that teach CPR to high school students and require lifesaving screenings for newborns to detect congenital heart defects. Membership in You’re the Cure has grown six times in size. And You’re the Cure got social on platforms like Facebook.
So why the trip down memory lane? I have recently taken another position at AHA and will no longer be the voice of You’re the Cure. I’ll be using my talents to focus on strategy and operations for one of our largest teams tasked with program delivery. The good news is you have an amazing team that have been leading the way for years, and Amy Shope Manzi will continue the work to grow and improve the You’re the Cure program. I couldn’t think of a better person to take this on, as Amy has been a key team member for nearly a decade. I’ve come to value her leadership, vision, and friendship over the years, and she now leads a talented team.
It’s cliché but I have to say this change is bittersweet. For me, You’re the Cure wasn’t only a job, it was my family. You all brought me to tears when you would share your personal stories about your journey as a CHD family, or your fight back from stroke. It’s at Lobby Day that many of these bonds have been formed when volunteers offered their friendship, gave me comfy shoes for the day, and treated me like a celebrity for simply doing my job.
Now, I get to join the ranks of You’re the Cure as an advocate for my kids to grow up in a healthy community. It’s the power of our collective voices that can make change happen, and I want to be a part of that. Know that I will be cheering you on and can’t wait to see what accomplishments you’ll achieve next. Thank you for all you do!