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WALLINGFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT TAKES CPR TRAINING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

More than 350,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year in the United States. About 90 percent of those victims die, often because bystanders don’t know how to start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) or are afraid they’ll do something wrong. Bystander CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

In 2016, the American Heart Association advocated and succeeded in making CPR a graduation requirement, creating a new generation of life-savers trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until emergency medical response arrives. But long before this important change, there were a group of teachers and nurses in Wallingford who had the desire to train students.

L to R: Leslie Carmody, Sue Pallotta, Carol MacDonald, Kathy Palermo, Julie Wollen

Nine years ago, Julie Wollen, Rock Hill Physical Education teacher; Kathy Palermo, retired Physical Education Teacher; Sue Pallotta, E.C. Stevens School Nurse and Carol MacDonald, Rock Hill School Nurse, along with supervisor Leslie Carmody from Survival Group, worked together to train all Grade 5 students in the district on Friends and Family® CPR and with Automated External Defibrillators, more commonly known as an AED.

“We started out volunteering our time becoming American Heart Instructors in CPR/AED and First Aid to certify our staffs at Rock Hill and E.C. Stevens Elementary Schools,” Wollen said. “At one point both schools had 100 percent of staff members certified! We then decided to try teaching this valuable skill to our 5th graders. We were amazed at how receptive they were to this important skill.”

The group knew that they wanted all students to learn how to handle a situation that required CPR or the use of an AED, so they worked together to receive approval from the superintendent to go to all four 3rd through 5th grade schools in the district and teach the 5th graders CPR and the use of an AED.

“During our visits to these schools, we would work with the school nurse and principal to run a practice Code AED drill for the staff’s Crisis Team,” Wollen said.

If there is any doubt that the lifesaving training and skill would work, it was proof positive when in 2014. Kathy Palermo and Carol McDonald trained Rock Hill’s secretary Debbie Morzowski and paraprofessional Connie Bickford in CPR. They were both at the Wallingford Recreation Department when a 34-year-old man dropped on the court. Debbie and Connie performed CPR for 20 minutes before EMS arrive and saved the man. This has been life-changing for Debbie, who has continued to have a relationship with this man and his family and has also since become a CPR Instructor.

In the last year, the group was approved to perform annual practice drills for all 12 schools in Wallingford, along with the Board of Education and Adult Education.

June 1 – 7th is CPR and AED Awareness Week and the American Heart Association encourages everyone to learn Hands Only CPR. To learn Hands Only CPR, go to heart.org/CPR. Just a few short minutes can provide a lifelong, lifesaving skill.

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Register Today for Fairfield County Heart Walk & 5K Run

Online registration is open for the 2019 Fairfield County Heart Walk and 5K Run at www.fairfieldcountyheartwalk.org. The event is set for Sunday, May 19th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. Participants can walk or run as individuals or on a team of friends, co-workers or family. Companies and community groups are invited to form teams and register to support the AHA’s mission through the Heart Walk & Run.

Registration and donation drop-off begins at 8:30 AM. The Run/Walk starts at 10:00 AM. All registered participants who raise $100 or more will be eligible for a Heart Walk T-Shirt. Registration fee for the 5K Run is $35 and $40 on the day of event.

The Heart Walk is part of the AHA’s Healthy For Good movement designed to help Americans create lasting change in their health and life, one small step at a time. These changes can help prevent heart disease and stroke. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Healthy For Good encourages healthier eating, including colorful fruits and vegetables, exercising 30 minutes daily, and focusing on whole body wellness including reducing stress and getting enough sleep. Learn more at healthyforgood.heart.org.

Events like the Heart Walk fund the AHA’s critical research and awareness programs that help save lives from cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke – the number one and five killers in the country. American Heart Association—the largest funder of cardiovascular research after the Federal government–currently funds 52 researchers in Connecticut at a funding level of $9,063,654 in 2019. AHA research grants have funded advances like bypass surgery, microsurgery and drug eluting stents, understanding cholesterol metabolism, Hands-Only CPR, implantable pacemakers and heart failure therapeutics. Thirteen Nobel Prize winners have received American Heart Association research grants.

Register for the Heart Walk at www.fairfieldcountyheartwalk.org or by contacting at Todd.Boe@heart.org or 203-295-2941. The Heart Walk is sponsored by EY, Norwalk Hospital, Philips, PwC, Stamford Health, 95.9 The Fox Radio, and Hearst Connecticut Media Group.



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Heart Survivor Celebrates Fifth “Birthday”

On May 11, Leigh Pechillo will celebrate her 5th birthday. Five years since her life began, or should we say…began again. She will celebrate by teaching as many people as possible, Hands Only CPR. The one thing that kept her alive until help arrived. Knowing her five-year anniversary was approaching, she wanted to make sure other hearts could be started in an emergency.

The Hands Only CPR training will take place on May 11th from 9am-1pm at Southington High School on 720 Pleasant Street. The first 200 people to register, will receive a FREE American Heart Association CPR Anytime® Kit. If you don’t know CPR, bring the family and learn this life-saving skill. All ages are welcome! To register go to www.inaheartbeat.org/southington-community-heart-starters.

Taking 20 minutes to learn CPR could save a life.

The 20-minute Hands-Only CPR training will provide attendees with the basic skills to save a life from sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home. If someone is called upon to perform Hands-Only CPR, it will likely be trying to save the life of a person they know and love. Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as CPR with breaths in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest for an adult victim and can double or triple their chance of survival.

If you don’t know Leigh’s story, here is Leigh’s story in her own words.

“It was Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014. I woke up to my kids singing a song they wrote for me and sat down to a homemade breakfast made by my husband. But I just wasn’t feeling right. I had terrible heartburn – but I KNEW it wasn’t from my husband’s cooking! And the day before I noticed I had some shortness of breath walking up and down stairs.

My husband suggested I call the doctor who said it might be esophageal, but he couldn’t rule out a heart attack. He told me to take an antacid and if it didn’t feel better to go to the emergency room immediately. I couldn’t find an antacid and we continued our Mother’s Day celebration. My husband noticed I was rubbing my chest. He said, “Let’s go to the ER and make sure everything is okay.”

I just kept thinking, there is NO WAY it can be a heart attack. I’m a mother, I’m a wife. I’m YOUNG! I may not exercise every day and I might not have the perfect diet, but I’ve never been told my blood pressure or cholesterol were a concern. It COULDN’T be a heart attack.

I went to the bathroom to get ready… but I don’t remember anything until four days later.

Leigh and her family in 2014.

I was told I collapsed in my bathroom and my daughter Allie heard me fall. My husband yelled for me and when I didn’t answer he opened the door and found me on the floor. He immediately called 9-1-1, he started administering CPR until the paramedics arrived- while my children knelt and prayed. Ninety percent of out-of-hospital cardiac events end in death because the victims don’t receive CPR.

Every medical professional has called my husband, Tom, a hero, because he DID perform CPR. If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have survived long enough for them to help save my life.

Once the EMTs arrived, they shocked my heart to get it beating again and brought me to our community hospital where they quickly realized I needed more help than they could give me. From there I was sent via Life Star to another hospital who could provide the care I needed.

There they performed an angiogram and determined I had a 70% blockage in my left anterior descending artery which is known as the “widow maker.” This is one of two arteries coming off the left coronary artery. They discovered that the blockage was high up, so close to the left coronary artery, that placing a stent was going to be extremely risky.

They used preventative hypothermia to cool me to save my brain and organ function.

But over a 3 hour period Monday night into Tuesday, I went into cardiac arrest three times and it took them defibrillating me 13 times to stabilize me. It was then the doctors made the decision not to wait for bypass surgery, but to try and place a stent. At that time the risky option became the only option.

The stent worked! I was grateful to be alive! Four days later, I returned home to my family.

At 44 years old, I was THIS CLOSE to being one in three women who are killed by heart disease or stroke.

But how?!?!

My father passed away at the age of 70 of congestive heart failure after multiple heart attacks, a quadruple by-pass, and an implantable defibrillator. But I knew he had rheumatic fever as a child, he smoked like a chimney for 50 years, he never exercised and had a diet of sugary soda and fatty foods.

But I never took my family history seriously enough.

I never accounted for the stress of being a caregiver to my Dad and my son, along with the everyday stresses we all face.

There is one other question that I have asked myself. Why am I still alive? For that, I have answers. The many prayers that were said for me were answered. The CPR my husband KNEW and administered. The amazing EMTs, along with the skilled doctors and nurses that took such great care of me.

The support of my family and friends near and far. And last, but certainly not least, the American Heart Association.

But that is not the end of my family’s story. Three months after my heart attack, my husband Tom wanted to make sure he was heart healthy. He contacted my cardiologist to get an EKG and echocardiogram and SURPRISE! We found out Tom had a rare congenital heart defect. He underwent open heart surgery just a little over a month ago, and I am happy to say he is doing well and has no further need for OHS.

And on a side note- I am happy to report that my daughter has been cleared of any heart related problems!

My son, my husband and I are living proof that the American Heart Association funds research to provide the protocols and education needed to save lives. For me it was CPR, the drug eluding stent, and Protective hypothermia. And for that, I am ever grateful.”

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Anchors Go Red on National Wear Red Day!

Welcome to the blog, News Anchors!

The American Heart Association invites you to wear RED on-air on Friday, February 1st to help share the truth about heart disease and make ending it a reality.

Share on-air why you are wearing red and “Going Red” and post photos to social media using #GoRedCT (Connecticut) or #GoRedMass (Massachusetts) so we can retweet/like them.

By joining together, we can fight the #1 killer of women. By wearing RED on National Wear Red Day on February 1st, you can encourage women and those who love them to make a change toward optimum heart health.

Here are national wear red day® social media messages. Feel free to copy and paste the suggested messaging below or share your own story or message and include a photo of you wearing red! Be sure to include #WearRedandGive and either #GoRedCT or #GoRedMass in all your social media posts.

National Wear Red Day®: Friday, February 1, 2019

On-Air Talking Points

  • Today is National Wear Red Day.
  • I’m wearing RED to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® movement, nationally sponsored by CVS Health, in the fight against heart disease and stroke in women.
  • Heart disease is a woman’s greatest health threat.
  • Cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of 1 in 3 women. To put that into perspective, that’s a third of our mothers, sisters and friends.
  • 80% of these cases may be prevented through education and healthy lifestyle changes like moving more, eating smart and managing blood pressure
  • Wear Red to raise awareness about heart disease – the leading cause of death in women – and encourage family and friends to do the same.
  • Share your support on social with #WearRedAndGive and visit WearRedDay.org to make a donation to support the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association or at your local CVS Pharmacy, February 3- 23.

Sample Social Media Posts:

  • Join me in wearing red today for National #WearRedDay. Together we can raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in women. WearRedDay.org #GoRedforWomen
  • Pic Idea: Selfie of you wearing red.
  • Nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented, but cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat. In honor of National Wear Red Day what will you do to take charge of your heart health? #WearRedDay #GoRedforWomen WearRedDay.org
  • Let’s be part of something bigger than ourselves. Join me and give today to help stop heart disease and stroke in women. #WearRedAndGive WearRedDay.org #GoRedforWomen
  • A woman dies from heart disease every 80 seconds. Join me and #WearRedAndGive today. Together we can help save lives. WearRedDay.org #GoRedforWomen
  • I’m wearing RED to join @GoRedForWomen in the fight against heart disease & stroke. #WearRedandGive by encouraging women in your life to #KnowYourNumbers and make a Go Red Commitment to act for women’s heart health at Goredforwomen.org/commit.

Thank you for your support of National Wear Red and women’s heart health!

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I’m Never Giving Up…Joe’s Story

My story begins in 2011. I had just gone through a divorce and had gotten into great shape or as I called it, dating shape. I was house sitting for friends and had run three miles on the treadmill pushing myself quite hard. As I finished I noticed I wasn’t feeling well and decided to rest a little before going to meet a friend before lunch. My friends whom I was house sitting for had come home and they said I didn’t look that good but I told them I was fine. I met my friend for lunch and without warning I became very nauseous and light headed. I went to the men’s room and found myself laying on the floor with my friend beating on the door asking if I was alright. I got up and asked her to take me to my sisters’ who is a nurse. I assumed I just had some kind of bug.

I did not have any idea at the time I was having a heart attack.

My sister, like me, assumed it was some kind of bug. Over the next two days I wasn’t getting better and finally one night I couldn’t sleep because I felt like an elephant was on my chest. I told my sister and she rushed me to the emergency room (the AHA recommends you call 911 if you suspect a heart attack). When they put me on an EKG-  everyone broke into action and behold I was having a heart attack. They stabilized me and sent me to another hospital where the heart surgeons were waiting for me. They were able to put a stent in my artery and saved my life.

I was lucky the damage to my heart was minimal and reversible. I was lucky that I had gotten into really good shape and I was able to recover quickly. I went to cardiac rehab and learned a lot about diet and exercise and was able to run a 5k three months after the procedure. In the year that followed I amended my diet to heart healthy, I continued with my cardio and weight training and went back to school to get certified as a personal trainer. I took all the medication as prescribed and went to all my doctors’ appointments religiously. My stress test always came back perfect.

But then in 2015 things changed and so did my life forever. On a Friday in October I went for a stress test at my Cardiologist and passed easy. They were amazed how great a shape I was in and said I was doing great. I noticed for the couple weeks before that I had felt I was just a little fatigued but I had been working a lot with my construction business and my personal training at the gym and thought nothing about it.

On the following Sunday I had a great workout and was feeling great. I went to my ex’s house to walk our dog that we had joint custody of. I was going to take him up to the reservoir woods so that he could run free once again fate had other plans. Suddenly, as I was standing in her driveway, I felt intense pain running down my arm and shoulder and I clutched my chest, realizing that I was having a heart attack. My ex-wife rushed me to the emergency room where they put me on an EKG and again, everyone jumped into action. I was in the middle of a massive heart attack. They gave me numerous nitro pills to try to stabilize me and I kind of had an idea I was in rough shape. But I had no idea how bad it really was. At the hospital they discovered I had not one, not two, but THREE, 100 percent blockages in my LAD also known as the widow maker. They attempted to put stents in , but as I found out later that didn’t work.

I remember waking up Monday morning thinking everything was all done and I was going to be fine in a few weeks. I called my work partner and the gym that I was going to be out for a couple of weeks but that I was fine and everything was good. Then the doctors gave me the bad news, one of the stents half opened and wasn’t going to work and that they couldn’t do anything about it and they were going to try to do everything they can to figure out what was next.

I remember it like it was yesterday, it was Tuesday night and most of my family was in the room when the heart surgeon walked into the room with four other doctors and began to tell me that they were going to do open heart surgery or a double bypass on me. The doctors told me it was going to be very complicated because of where the stent had half opened and that they wanted to wait until my heart healed before they attempted the open heart surgery. They feared my heart would not survive the surgery. As they were telling me this I remember looking over at my sisters and daughters as the intense pain started radiating from my shoulder and arm and I remember telling the nurse that I was having a heart attack. The EKG was off the charts and as they were rushing me to surgery looking at the crash cart next to me and listening to the panic in the doctors voice I realized I probably wasn’t going to make it.

How grateful I was to wake up the next day in ICU, in pain but alive. I remember as soon as I was able to talk, I thanked the doctor for saving my life and he told me it wasn’t him, but me and someone else had saved my life.  I definitely understood.

Later I had learned that I had died and they were able to bring me back. The doctors called me a miracle and said there was no way I should have survived. I had quite a lot of damage to my heart but they said that because I was in such great shape I would be ok. Once again I pushed myself to get back into shape and within a year I was back doing everything I was before, stronger than ever.

But it doesn’t end there.

I started having a cough but thought nothing of it. It continuously got worse and then I couldn’t get out of bed. I went to the hospital where they admitted me for pneumonia. I was treated over four days and they sent me home. Within two months I had pneumonia again and then within a month again. The doctors finally realized I had an infection that had done a great deal of damage to my heart. My ejection fraction had went from 35 and climbing to 22 and dropping. They immediately put a defibrillator in knowing that if I had a heart attack I wouldn’t survive and they told me that I was in congestive heart failure.

Now I’m on a lot of medication knowing that at some point I may have to have a heart transplant. I am determined to live a full life and to keep working out. I keep fooling the doctors with what I’m capable of doing and I’m going to keep fooling them as long as I can.

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Be At Your Peak This Holiday Season

You can be the best you – at your peak this holiday season – by eating smart, moving more and making your well-being a priority. And you don’t have to put these healthy habits on pause during the holidays. We’ve got lots of ways to make the healthy choice the easy choice, as well as the fun and festive choice!

  • Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables to give your meals, snacks and party dishes that healthy holiday spirit. Try apples, dates, leafy greens, pears, pumpkin, root vegetables, sweet potato and winter squash. If you have a farmer’s market near you, walk or bike there for a bit of extra exercise.
  • Enjoy some of the special treats and splurges of the season without overdoing it. Balance is the key. For example, if you’re going to miss your workout for a holiday event, walk during lunch or ride your bike to work. If dinner is going to be a feast, opt for a light lunch.
  • Commit to staying healthy during the holidays. For example: “For the next three weeks I will move more and do something active every day, have a healthy breakfast and limit the sweets, and get at least seven hours of sleep each night.” If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you won’t feel like you have to start all over once the holidays are in the rear-view.
  • Eat smart at special holiday events. They often serve up extra helpings of less-than-healthy foods. If you’re a guest, eat a healthy snack before you go to avoid overdoing it at the event. If you’re the host, challenge yourself to offer some delicious and healthier options using our recipes and cooking tips. Your guests will thank you.
  • Keep the family active. When the kids are out of school, squeeze in some active chores and trips to the park. Break up the video game marathon with a physical activity break. Take advantage of cooler weather to get moving outdoors.

Find more ways to stay at your peak at www.heart.org/HealthyforGood.

 

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Sweet Caroline

By: Caroline’s Mom, Melissa Guarracino

“Caroline is a sassy, intelligent and charismatic 5-year-old.”

We have a trend in our little family to only use due dates as a (very, VERY) general guideline. None of our children have been born in the month they were due. So, when my late August due date came and went for baby number 3 and September began, all I could do was laugh. Caroline arrived, on her own time, in the early morning of September 4th, 2013, 5 long days late. We had a slew of visitors on day 1 including her older brother & sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents & dear friends. We were smitten and so thankful for this little life after an incredibly rough year of loss & grief in our extended family.

Eager to get some rest after her busy birth day my husband Nick and I sent Caroline to the nursery in the late evening of September 4th with the request to bring her back for her feeding. Right on schedule, in the wee hours of the morning the nurse wheeled Caroline in right next to my bed.

About an hour after feeding Caroline I was awoken by a wonderful nurse and attentive physician’s assistant who switched on the lights in our room to let us know that they had come to take stats and noticed that Caroline’s color was off – she might have said dusky, I was so tired it’s a blur. She assured us that it was likely nothing but she was going to take her to the NICU for a bit to have her checked out. We had been through this drill before with our oldest, George, who needed a few weeks in the NICU to strengthen his lungs after birth so we didn’t worry too much and we drifted back off to sleep. A few hours later we woke up and Caroline was still not in our room. We decided to find a wheelchair for me and go find her. We were directed to the NICU, which brought back a slew of emotions for both of us.

In the NICU amongst the beeping & chirping of machines we found Caroline in room 4. Our prior experience reminded us that the lower the number (out of 4), the closer you were to going home. Not good, Caroline. We stood by her open crib (good sign) and commented on how good she looked! A kind neonatologist approached us and asked us if anyone had been by to talk to us about Caroline. Nope, not yet. So he asked us to join him in “Caroline’s Room” within the NICU space to discuss what they’d found. Nothing could have prepared us for the news he delivered. Caroline was born with three complex heart defects. Transposition of the Great Arteries, Ventricular Septal Defect and Coarctation of the Aorta. Whoa. Our first reaction was – can you fix this? He assured us that she had some of the most easily fixable defects. Easily fixable with open heart surgery doesn’t sound easy at all when your baby’s heart is the size of a walnut. We were terrified, heartbroken and so overwhelmed.

The next week involved a lot of research, a lot of questions, many red tear-filled eyes & so much support from those around us. We had everyone from our pediatrician to our families to our new friends at Yale rallying for our sweet girl. We sought out second opinions, researched the pediatric heart surgeons, educated ourselves on her specific defects and tried our hardest to balance our time at the hospital with time at home bringing our older two children up to speed on why Caroline wasn’t coming home.

At 8 days old, Caroline underwent 9 hours of open heart surgery. We filled the waiting room with family who worked hard to feed us, make us laugh and distract us. The surgery blew by the expected duration which is when our anxiety ramped up. An hour after we thought she’d be out we were called to a conference room. Caroline’s body temperature was being brought back up and the surgeon informed us that the repairs were successful.

Caroline’s recovery was slow & steady. She was in the hospital a total of 20 days from birth to discharge. We felt so incredibly thankful for modern medicine.  Born 40 years earlier, our sweet girl most likely would have not had the same outcome.

We continue to have Caroline checked out every 4-6 months. She has only needed one additional intervention since her surgery – and is a sassy, intelligent, charismatic 5-year-old. You would never know of her newborn struggles unless you saw the scar on her chest. Just last night Caroline was asked about what that mark was on her chest. She tentatively looked at me and then back at the young girl asking and proudly said, “that’s where they fixed my heart!”

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2018 Hartford Heart Walk Co-Chairs Announced

        Corliss Montesi

The American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, announces Corliss Montesi of Stanley Black & Decker and Kay Mooney of Aetna, as co-chairs of the 2018 Hartford Heart Walk. The 26th annual Hartford Heart Walk will take place on Saturday, October 6 at a NEW location, the Yard Goats Stadium in Hartford.

Montesi and Mooney will lead the organizational and recruitment efforts in the greater Hartford area. They will call on thousands of area volunteers, survivors, walkers, and business leaders to step up to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with over 7,000 deaths in Connecticut each year”, said Montesi. “I am eager to take on this leadership role once again and have the opportunity to promote health and wellness. Stanley Black & Decker has been a strong supporter of the American Heart Association and we are committed to continue our support to advance this lifesaving mission.”

           Kay Mooney

“Our commitment to heart health extends beyond this one day”, said Mooney. “Working to improve the lives of our employees and our community is a year-long effort at Aetna. By helping the American Heart Association, we are making an impact on our collective health and making a difference in the fight against heart disease and stroke.”

The Hartford Heart Walk will attempt to raise more than $375,000 to fund research and education to fight heart disease and stroke. Each day, nearly 2,400 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease. That’s an average of one death every 37 seconds.

Corliss Montesi is Vice President, Corporate Controller, at Stanley Black & Decker, a worldwide supplier of hand and power tools, industrial equipment, and security solutions. Corliss leads a global organization in all aspects of accounting, controls and trade compliance. A passionate supporter of women and diversity, she is also an Executive Sponsor of the SBD Women’s Network.

Kay Mooney currently serves as Vice President of Workforce Well-being & Inclusion for Aetna. In addition to overseeing the strategic design, delivery and administration of the company’s employee and retiree benefits, Mooney leads work to understand the many determinants of well-being and build programs that address the greatest area of opportunity – all in line with the company’s strategy of creating a health care experience that’s simpler and more responsive to individual needs.

To learn more about the Hartford Heart Walk, or to find out about sponsorship opportunities, please call Wendy Schrlau at (203) 303-3317 or go to www.hartfordheartwalk.org.

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American Heart Association and Hartford HealthCare Join Together to End Stroke In Connecticut

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), along with Hartford HealthCare, are encouraging Connecticut residents to join to end stroke, the state’s fourth leading cause of death.

Despite claiming more than 133,000 lives annually in the United States, and an average of 1,300 deaths a year in Connecticut, as many as 80 percent of strokes remain preventable.


Most people who have a stroke have high blood pressure so it’s important to know your blood pressure numbers and keep them under control to help prevent stroke. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Nearly one in six American adults with high blood pressure don’t know it, according to AHA/ASA.

“Awareness is also key when it comes to stroke treatment,” said Donna Handley, President of Backus Hospital. “That is why Hartford HealthCare is working with the AHA/ASA to educate our employees and citizens of Connecticut through a social media and public service campaign featuring the signs of stroke. We believe that if people understand what a stroke is, we can prevent more lives from being lost or permanently altered by them.”

For many strokes, getting the right treatment immediately can save lives and improve recovery. The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke™ initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic and locally sponsored by Hartford HealthCare, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to recognize the most common stroke warning signs and what to do if one occurs:

  • F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T – Time to call 911: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

The AHA and Hartford HealthCare stroke awareness campaign kicks off in June and will continue through World Stroke Day, taking place on October 29th.

For more information about stroke visit StrokeAssociation.org.

 

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American Heart Association Announces Co-Chairs for the 2018 Eastern Connecticut Heart Walk

The American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, announces Kevin Brown of Mohegan Tribe and Donna Handley of Hartford HealthCare will co-chair the 2018 Eastern Connecticut Heart Walk. The annual event will take place on Sunday, September 23 at the Mohegan Reservation in Uncasville. 

 Brown and Handley will lead the organizational and recruitment efforts in eastern Connecticut. They will call on thousands of area volunteers, survivors, walkers, and business leaders to step up to fight cardiovascular diseases.

“Working in the healthcare industry, I understand the need for continual support in the fight against heart disease through funding and awareness,” said Handley, “Hartford HealthCare is committed to helping people live healthier lives and by supporting the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk – we are joining together to advance their lifesaving mission of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease while encouraging a culture of physical activity.”

The Eastern Connecticut Heart Walk will attempt to raise more than $370,000 to fund research and education to fight heart disease and stroke. Each day, nearly 2,400 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease. That’s an average of one death every 37 seconds. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. Research has found that individuals may gain two hours of life expectancy for every one hour of regular, vigorous exercise they do.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and it is no secret that it affects the Native American community at rates higher than most others,” said Brown. “This is one of the many reasons I take particular pride in continuing my co-chair role where I have the opportunity to help promote health and wellness and change these statistics. On behalf of the Tribe, we are honored to once again host the annual walk and are so proud of the dedication, commitment and support of our team members who participate each year – leading the way in the state and region helping to continue to support the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission.”

In her role as President of Hartford HealthCare’s East Region, Donna Handley provides executive leadership for the East Region which includes The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, Windham Community Hospital in Willimantic, the Plainfield Emergency and Ambulatory Center, various outpatient clinics and urgent care centers.

Kevin Brown is serving his second term as chairman of the Mohegan Tribe. As chairman, Brown is responsible for maintaining the sovereignty that the Mohegan Tribe fought hundreds of years for, overseeing its numerous business entities and ensuring the well-being of its more than 2,100 Tribal citizens. Brown also serves as Chairman of the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) Management Board which oversees gaming entities across the country, as well as two professional sports teams.

To learn more about the Eastern Connecticut Heart Walk, or to find out about sponsorship opportunities, please call John Brannelly at 203-295-2941 or go to www.EasternCTHeartWalk.org.

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