Wednesday, April 29, 2009

National Lobby Day Heartwarming Story

Here is an incredible and heart warming story from the Arkansas Delegation for National Lobby Day April 21, 2009. Mrs. International, Laine Berry, world title holder took time out of her busy schedule to lobby the Arkansas Congressional Delegation. But during her day's activities she had many people that stopped her and enjoyed having their picture taken. You will want to see and hear the story of one young admirer of Mrs. International. Here is his story told by his father.

My son & I was recently in Washington DC. We stayed at the Hyatt on the Hill. Your conference was going on at the same time we were there. During our visit Mrs International came into the lobby. My son being a teenager noticed her immediately of course. As she walked through the lobby she took time out for a couple of photos. One of those photos was with my son Randall (19). While I qreatly appreciate Mrs International's graciousness for my son's photo opportunity I found it ironic that he was one of the ones she took her photo with..... After all she could not know anything at all about his story..... You see he could have been there with your group.... He is also a survivor.... At 2 days old he underwent his first open heart surgery. At 2 years old major reconstructive surgery.... Then at 16 after cardiac arrest he had a partial transplant and he now has a pace maker / defiblilator. There was no way she could have known that the young man she was standing by was anything more than a bystander. I wish to thank her for her kindness and generosity to my son. I have no way of knowing how to contact her other than to hope you will pass this information on from a father who has watched his son go through hell and then to see him light up like he did with a simple picture.

Curtis Winder

Many lives are impacted daily by the Americn Heart Association and our efforts through our Advocacy department. This is just one of the many wonderful stories and one life that was saved due to heart and stroke research and prevention.

Thank you Mr. Winder for sharing Randall's story.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Go Red for Women Attendees Support Heart For Women Act

Participants at the Little Rock Go Red For Women Luncheon were asked to support a federal piece of legislation, the HEART for Women Act. Laine Berry, Mrs. International, Arkansas' own Global Beauty Pageant Winner and a native of Conway, ask participants to send a message to their Federal Congressional members in support of the bill. Berry is the states Advocacy Committee Chair and a strong advocate for heart and stroke issues. She has traveled across the United States and spoken at numerous events in support of heart health. Her platform is heart and stroke issues.

Pictured below - Laine Berry and a local attendee signing on to the paper doll campaign in support of the HEART For Women Act.

The Little Rock Event was attended by some 700 women and Arkansas' First Lady Ginger Beebe. See video of event below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meeting with Senator Blanche Lincoln


Kevin Berry, Laine Berry, Barbara Kumpe and Dr. Russell Melchert are pictured after their final meeting on lobby day. They had a very successful meeting with Senator Blanche Lincoln, who is a long time supporter of the AHA and it's agenda.

American Heart Association American Stroke Association - National Lobby Day April 21, 2009

View the openning ceremony for the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association's National Lobby Day in Washington DC. The Arkansas Delegation included Russell Melchert, Ph.D, Central Arkansas Board Chair, Laine Berry, winner of the global pageant Mrs. International, and her husband Kevin Berry. Assisting them was Arkansas Government Relations Director Barbara Kumpe.

Volunteers Head to Nations Capitol to Lobby Arkansas Congressional Delegation.

Watch for additional pictures from their meeting with Senator Blanche Lincoln.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The Arkansas Delegation has arrived in Washington DC!  Stay tuned over the next few days for photos and updates on the progress they make with our nations legislators. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Arkansas Session Ends after 88 Days

The Arkansas 87th General Assembly ended on Thursday, April 9 after 88 days. Legislators will return in May to complete any unfinished business and then Sine Die. All in all the session was very positive in many different aspects.

The major accomplishment for heart disease and stroke was the 56 cent tobacco tax increase on all tobacco products that funds the Governor’s Health Initiative, which includes the following:
· A statewide trauma network
· Funding for Acute Stroke Registry
· Funding for Automated External Defibrillators and CPR training for schools
· Funding for Community Health Centers of Arkansas
There are numerous other programs that will receive funding under the Governor's Health Initiative the price tag will be some $85 million.

Other tobacco related bills that passed and signed into law this session are: smoke free college campus’, tax credit for cigarette receptacles pending funding available, fire safe cigarettes, tobacco control issues with regards to border sales and tax prices, confiscating tobacco products and possession of tobacco by youth.

A bill that requires all public schools to have an automated external defibrillator on campus and CPR trained school personnel was signed into law by Governor Beebe. This bill named in honor of a young high school basketball player that died of sudden cardiac arrest at a basketball game in January of 2008 was named the Antony Hobbs, III Act. The bill sponsored by Senator Tracy Steele has funding of $1 million dollars from the state increased tobacco tax and is to be implemented by May 2011. Another bill by Senator Kim Hendren provided an additional $125,000 for AEDs and was part of a general improvement bill that passed during the session. See previous story on this Blog.

Several additional bills covered funding for tobacco control programs within the Department of Health, Tobacco Control Board, Tobacco Settlement Commission and Minority Health Commission. Some bills passed included issue like outlawing novelty lighters, training for Emergency Medical Services personnel, Health disparities and two Resolutions with regards to National Wear Red Day.

According to Laine Berry State Advocacy Committee Chair, “This has been one of the most positive and successful sessions for heart and stroke issues that we have had in recent years.”

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