My name is Theresa Conejo and I have been a You’re the Cure Advocate and AHA/ASA volunteer since 2007. While attending an American Heart/Stroke Association sponsored event at my workplace, I took the pledge and signed on. As a seasoned, Cardiovascular Nurse of thirty years, I see daily the devastating results of these diseases. Whether I am teaching a newly diagnosed patient with atrial fibrillation on the use of Coumadin, reviving a heart attack patient with CPR or assisting a stroke victim with his meals, I see and do it all.
My first Federal Lobby Day in 2007 focused on the Fit Kids Act, legislation that would ensure kids get adequate physical activity during the school day. This was, in my opinion, the beginning of the movement to address the childhood obesity crisis, an issue near and dear to my heart. It was exciting to meet such dedicated and powerful advocates and together we took our concerns to the Hill. Since 2007, I have attended five Federal Lobby Days and four PA Lobby days in addition to many in-district legislative visits, and am looking forward to the 2015 Lobby days ahead. Particularly important to me this year is working to get my state of Pennsylvania to be completely smoke free. Being involved in the passing of the original legislation back in 2008, I know PA needs to tighten the current law and my fellow advocates and I have been working hard to convince our legislators of this need. Through face-to-face visits with my State Representative to editorials and Op-Eds I have written, I'm hoping to create an increased awareness in my community for a tighter law without exclusions.
After two exciting terms on the National Advocacy Coordinating Committee, I am honored to be part of the Scientific Advocacy Coordinating Committee (SACC). In addition, I have volunteered myself to the American Stroke Association’s Minority Affairs Committee and serve as a board member at large for the Great Rivers Affiliate. It is my desire to experience the American Heart/Stroke Association through all of it’s many levels so I can become a more well-rounded, experienced advocate. Through my passion and commitment, I hope to inspire others to take action and help improve the health, well-being and quality of life in their community, state and nation.