At the end of June, more than 330 American Heart Association volunteers and staff from 46 states, including Colorado, traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for federal research support and key legislation that will benefit Americans with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The advocates urged their members of Congress to prioritize National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for heart and stroke research and to support bills that would expand access to stroke telemedicine (telestroke) and cardiac rehabilitation. They also encouraged their lawmakers to oppose the American Health Care Act or any Senate substitute that reduces access to affordable and adequate health care coverage.
Each volunteer had a unique story and perspective to share, and we are grateful for our Colorado advocates, who traveled over 1,662 miles to Washington D.C., to advocate for heart-healthy and stroke-smart policies. On the Hill, they had a chance to share their unique perspectives with our Colorado lawmakers.
Julie is from Greenwood Village. As an educator and health advocate Julie’s goal is to be a voice in the fight against heart disease and to promote healthful lifestyle choices. Julie is a member of the Colorado Governor's Council on Healthy and Active Living, and enjoys having the opportunity to promote the American Heart Association’s goals.
Susan teaches middles school in Colorado Springs. A hiker and healthy eater, Susan Strong was surprised to hear she needed heart surgery at age 49. The radiation therapy she had received as a teen to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma had taken its toll: Strong had developed severe aortic stenosis and regurgitation. As an AHA ambassador, Strong is sharing her story online and in person to support fellow patients — and even to inspire her students to dream up inventions like the one she credits with saving her life: TAVR. "I want to take what I’ve been through and encourage people and give them hope that they can live a full life.”
Jeri lives in Denver and works as a business lender. She has been volunteering with the American Heart Association’s advocacy team for 13 years, is involved in Circle of Red, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team. She volunteers with the American Heart Association to promote heart health for women.