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Thank you to everyone who filled out our 2017 End of Year survey! We were heartened to read your stories of perseverance and survival, and the advocate spotlight section of the newsletter is dedicated to telling your stories. Haven't shared your story yet? There's still time!

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Advocates get involved for a number of reasons - maybe you lost a loved one, maybe you work or volunteer in a field that helps improve the health of the community. Whatever your reason, we appreciate your involvement! This month, we're highlighting Brenda Wiseman, a Clinical Educator in Oklahoma who teaches lifesaving strategies to nurses and the public. 

Here's what Brenda had to say --

"I have been a nurse for 30+ years. The first 25 of those years I spent caring for the sickest of the sick in critical care units. 20 years ago my family and I made the decision return to Comanche County Oklahoma to be near ailing family members. I live in a very rural area outside of Lawton, OK. Here, I continued my critical care career until a little over 5 years ago when I was offered an opportunity to take a position as a Clinical Educator. I now spend the majority of my time sharing my nursing knowledge with my colleagues on a daily basis.

In addition to advocating for the AHA, I frequently participate in community outreach programs that offer free blood pressure and stroke risk screenings for the general public. Along with other nurses in this region, I have assisted in developing a new outreach program that we hope to take state-wide. The purpose of this program is to educate the general public about stroke risk and early intervention as well as educate first responders and healthcare providers in smaller, outlying communities about the signs and symptoms to be alert for and where it is best to transport the patient for stroke intervention and care. My other volunteer time is spent with at-risk youths in our area providing alternatives to gang membership and drug/alcohol use. I voluntarily teach local incarcerated youth CPR and First-Aid. It gives them a real sense of worth and accomplishment-many for the first time in their lives.

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Brenda joined our You're the Cure advocates this summer for Federal Lobby Day on the Hill to meet with her lawmakers. Brenda is second from the left.

I have been teaching Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support for AHA for over 25 years. I started teaching because I felt like I needed more exposure to this important information more than once every 2 years. I wanted to know everything I could about saving lives. Regardless of where my career and my life have taken me over that time span, I have continued to teach these courses. I eventually expanded my student base from nurses and healthcare providers only to child care providers and finally the general public. I feel that it is so important to present this information in a non-threatening and easily understood manner. People learn better and retain more when they are not afraid and can actually relax and have fun during the course. I continue to “Take my show on the road” because I very strongly believe that the best way for anyone to survive a heart attack or a stroke is for someone-ANYONE-to recognize what is happening and summon emergency response as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment is the key to survival; and as we well know, most of these events do not take place in a healthcare facility."

Do you have a story to tell about your WHY? Please send an email to Megan.Klein@heart.org with your story and a couple of photos. We would love to feature you in a future newsletter! 

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