Our 2017-18 Tennessee Advocacy Committee is composed of individuals from across the state with different occupations, who have a great interest in advocating for policy change for heart-health issues. Today, we'd like you to meet our newest member Alexandra Wallace of Franklin. She will start school at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy after graduation in May from the University of Mississippi.
Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. What’s yours? The kids I get to work with encourage me to want to live a longer, healthier life. By doing this, I can continue to work with the kids across the state for years to come on what it means to be their healthiest self. Plus, this is a way to keep my dad’s legacy alive!
Many people choose to volunteer for the American Heart Association because they’ve been impacted by heart disease or stroke. Do you have a personal connection to our nation’s No. 1 and 5 killers? If so, we’d love to hear it! In 2007, my father woke and within minutes went into sudden cardiac arrest. While many tried to resuscitate him, it was unsuccessful. He passed away healthy at 45 years of age. Unfortunately, he had a genetic cardiovascular disease that my brother and I are tested for regularly. This has changed the way we live our lives, and has emotionally impacted me in negative ways. By volunteering for the American Heart Association, I am finding peace with his death by working to ensure other children don’t lose their dad like I did.
How long have you been volunteering for the American Heart Association? My dad passed away in 2007, and for the first 4 years after his death I wasn’t ready to get involved and help share his story. But, in 2011 I reached out the American Heart Association and got involved with Jump Rope for Heart! Now, I volunteer with many events and host various fundraisers to help put an end to heart disease.
What interests you about advocating for policies that help create healthier communities and protect heart disease and stroke patients? Often, we don’t realize that there is a way to help end heart disease through legislation. However, by working on new policies that impact our communities we can help to provide a better environment for those who are affected by the disease, and hopefully lower the risk for those who may develop it. One thing that lacked in my dad’s case, was a fast response time. Policies, like the ones that deal with telemedicine, could have really helped in his case to provide instructions on how to potentially save him during our long wait.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I love to cook dinner with my family and hang out. Also, take a nap because sleep is not something that comes easy in college!
Let’s play a quick round of “would you rather.” Would you rather –
- Hike or bike? Hike
- Go climbing or zip lining? Zip lining
- Go canoeing or waterskiing? Waterskiing
- Swim in a pool or the ocean? Ocean
- Watch sports or play sports? Play sports
What was your favorite activity in P.E.? It’s the parachutes, right?! Yes, of course. The parachute day was always one of my favorites!! But, I also loved dodge ball Friday’s too!
What does your perfect day look like? My perfect day is spent hanging out with my family, probably outside by the pool. The day would end by grilling out and just spending time together. I love being around them, and since that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, that is my perfect day.