American Heart Association
Imagine a good friend loses her husband to a heart attack. He never celebrates his 30th birthday with his expecting wife and two young children; his death, a shock to everyone. He was a young man, unaware of the risks that come with living an unhealthy lifestyle void of exercise and a balanced diet.
Unfortunately, this tragedy is all too familiar. The rise in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and stroke continue to haunt Americans year after year. When such a trauma happens to us or someone we know, like TRUiST Product Manager, Aparna Gude and her friend’s husband, the issue resonates and a call to action sets in. With May being National Stroke Awareness Month, there is no better time to shed light on this pressing health epidemic and get others engaged in the conversation.
After her friend’s husband’s death, Gude created an informal support group to discuss healthy recipes and exercise routines. Members of the support circle would do their best to encourage a healthy lifestyle, even if that meant singling out those who were not taking sufficient care of themselves. Now, thanks to organizations like the American Heart Association, which strives to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke, Gude and her group regularly participate in Heart Walks, as well as other local 5k walks, 10k walks, and marathons. “One heart attack brought a bunch of friends together and changed our lifestyle to a much healthier one,” says Gude.
For years, the American Heart Association has been working towards creating and supporting a healthier America, but as we all know, healthy habits need to start at a young age. That’s why for the past 35 years, schools have participated in the American Heart Association’s “Jump Rope for Heart,” a fundraiser that teaches kids how to take care of their bodies, while showing them the importance of giving back to the community. TRUiST Account Manager, Jennifer Finley, joyfully explains that her 5-year-old daughter, Kayla, was ecstatic to participate in her first school fundraiser, “Jump Rope for Heart.”
“She set a goal of $150 and began asking friends and family to help out,” says Finley. When Finley asked her daughter if she understood why she was raising money, she assumed Kayla would say “to buy toys,” but was pleasantly surprised with her daughter’s response. Kayla answered, “I’m getting money so that grownups and kids that have heart problems can have a little help, and I like it when I get help so it’s my turn.” Although the fundraiser is over, Kayla and her mother continue to fundraise for the American Heart Association.
Bringing awareness to heart health is just the beginning. The American Heart Association provides CPR classes, offers fitness and wellness lectures and literature, hosts activity based fundraising across the country, and continuously conducts research on preventing and reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease and stroke.