03 JanNew Year, New You Contest

On January 13, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will be hosting a live event where they’ll release new recommendations. You can register for the January 13 live online event or follow the event on Twitter: @RWJFCommission and #cbha2014. Before I get to my big contest announcement, I wanted to share a unique volunteer opportunity. As we work to make America a healthier place and inch toward our aggressive 2020 goal, a powerful resource is collaborating with other like-minded organizations. The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Commission works to address non-medical factors that affect our health. On January 13, they will be hosting a live event where they’ll release new recommendations. You can register for the January 13 live online event or follow the event on Twitter: @RWJFCommission and #cbha2014.

2014 goals - new year, new you! What are your goals for 2014?

The first of January is often perceived as an opportunity for a new beginning. There is just something about that calendar year flipping over that energizes people about setting and meeting new goals.

With that thought in mind, I would like to host my first winter photo contest! I have always enjoyed the wonderful response I’ve received to those I’ve done in the past, and the New Year is too good of an occasion to pass up. My retirement date is quickly approaching and I couldn’t help but get one more in – a last opportunity to connect with many in our Western States Affiliate family!

I would love to see pictures and hear from my readers about what “out of the ordinary” health and wellness goals you may have set – and how you are going to achieve them. Please snap a picture and send your submission my way!

So… maybe it is losing 20 pounds, perhaps you want to run a marathon, possibly you want to spend more time with the people you love – whatever it is – commit to it and go for it!

I will take submissions now through January 31, and will announce a winner(s) during the first part of February. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.

19 DecA Warm WSA Welcome plus Christmas is for Kids…

With Christmas right around the corner, I think it’s only appropriate that children dominate the highlights this week. Before we get to those, I’d like to extend a heartfelt welcome to a new  member of the Western States Affiliate team, Kathy Rogers.

As most of you are aware, I will be retiring from the American Heart Association at the end of February.  I am delighted to share that Kathy Rogers has been selected as the new Executive Vice President to lead this outstanding affiliate upon my departure.

Kathy, who has been with the AHA since 1995, has served the organization in a variety of roles, most recently as the Executive Vice President, Strategic Markets and Consumer Business Innovation at the National Center.  Prior to her current EVP role, which Kathy has held since 2008, she also served our organization as Vice President, Cause Initiatives; Vice President of Corporate Relations; as National Heart Walk Consultant; and as Executive Director for the Detroit market.  In her announcement this week, national CEO Nancy Brown shared this, “In her experience as an EVP, Kathy has demonstrated excellence in delivering measurable mission results; generating significant revenue, cultivating and engaging volunteers, stewarding major donors, developing innovative programs and initiatives, and recruiting and retaining top talent.” I have known Kathy for over 15 years and can heartily corroborate Nancy’s statement.

I look forward to working with Kathy, Nancy and our dedicated staff and volunteers during this important transition and look forward to many great accomplishments for the WSA in 2014…and beyond.  I wish Kathy and the entire Western States Affiliate team continued success, which I am supremely confident will be forthcoming!

In other WSA news– Senior Youth Market Director Brian Zambor knows a thing or two about motivating kids. While visiting Lakewood Elementary in Modesto, CA, a few weeks ago, he told them that if more than 80 kids at the school brought in a donation, he would sacrifice himself to the “silly string gods” and let the top 14 silly string him. That was all they needed! The school blew their previous record of nearly $1,400 out of the water by raising almost $3,500. An impressive 106 kids brought in a donation, and perhaps more importantly, learned a lesson in the value of contributing to a community cause. As you can see from the pictures, these kids are serious about silly string.Lakewood Elementary students cover Brian Zambor in silly stringBrian Zambor gets covered in silly string

I’m not sure what it is, but there is something about seeing a group of young teenagers rallying together and motivated to engage their peers in our cause that is inspiring to me. Liberty High School in Issaquah, WA, has not only embraced the idea of helping fund our mission – they have embraced the spirit of our cause. Please take a moment and watch the incredible video they produced to encourage others to donate and get involved in the movement. They are not wrapping their involvement around just one event – they are making it an entire spirit week – culminating in a Red Out at four basketball games on the last day. Last year they were the second in fundraising for our affiliate, bringing in over $7,000! As you’ll hear in the video, this year they’ve even set a loftier goal. Thank you Liberty High School for all that you have done to make a difference!Help LHS Support the American Heart Association

With the extra temptation of cookies, eggnog and the additional opportunities for food-laden celebrations that the holidays bring – I think it is appropriate to close with a great story about how we are working to promote health education. KERO, Telemundo and KGET were all on hand to support the Go Red Por Tu Corazon grocery store tour in Bakersfield, CA.  The wonderful turn out of press included two live breaks during the 8:00-9:00 Morning Show on Channel 29. Local AHA volunteers and staff were interviewed and able to share their expertise on easy ways to make trips to the grocery store a healthy experience. Volunteer and expert nutritionist Laura Gonzalez did an excellent job sharing healthy tips and tricks and Rosario Hernandez Ortiz represented sponsor Dignity Health and shared information about low-cost health screenings they offer. What a great way to provide an educational opportunity to local residents – and share the message via a strong media platform as well!
Go Red Por Tu Corazon films grocery store tourGo Red Por Tu Corazona grocery store tour live on morning show







And finally, this week’s big winner in our NFL “pick ‘em” contest was Erica Ralston in Sacramento. Erica had 11 correct picks. Right behind Erica were Kristin Telin (Spokane), Kitty Dunmire (Seattle), and Kauwela Bisquera (Maui) with 10 correct picks.  Kuniko Okuda (Los Angeles) is now in first place with 139 points. Steve Garell (Phoenix) is in 2nd place with 139 points, and Erica Ralston is in 3rd place with 138 points.  Congrats to Kelli Petragallo for correctly predicting that Miami would upset New England last Sunday.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and the happiest and healthiest New Year. I’ll be taking next week off from blogging to enjoy a little extra time with my family and friends. Enjoy this special time!

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.

13 DecSponsorship Workshop and Awards Highlight a Busy Week

It was a busy – and fun – week in Los Angeles! We were fortunate to have a number of development staff from around the affiliate gather for a special sponsorship workshop. Volunteer and staff experts led the conference, sharing their expertise on relationship and community building, cause sponsorships and understanding the value of the mission.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of the week was a group dinner where I had the privilege of announcing a few special staff awards. We have more than 300 employees in the Western States Affiliate, and to be recognized amongst such a large and talented group is not an easy feat. I am excited to share the news…

Growth achieved of more than 50 percent to goal and achievement of goal and beyond:

  • Bobbi Scharton, Youth Market Director, Fresno
  • Kimberly Becker, Youth Market Director, Boise
  • Kyle McAuley, Youth Market Director, Los Angeles
  • Katie Meyers, Business Development Director, Greater Bay Area
  • Elizabeth Wright, Senior Business Development Director, Greater Bay Area
  • Renee Croteau, Vice President – Heart Walk, Greater Bay Area
  • Stacy Neiman, Vice President-Social Market, Greater Bay Area
  • Jill DiGiacomo, Executive Director, Greater Bay Area
  • Kauwela Bisquera, Regional Director, Hawaii
  • Crystal Rolling, Executive Director, Inland Empire
  • Jason Belland, for his role as Executive Director, Las Vegas
  • Jason Lustina, Business Development Director, Los Angeles
  • Jennifer Kraushaar, for her role as Business Development Director, Los Angeles
  • Dawn Hoem, Regional Director, Heart Walk, Los Angeles
  • Danielle Hammons, Business Development Director, Northern Nevada
  • Katie Randall, Business Development Director, Orange County
  • Megan Millar, for her role with the Orange County Heart Walk
  • Nickie Behdin, Senior Business Development Director, Orange County
  • Melissa Wilimas, Executive Director, Orange County
  • Mun Li Kong, Business Development Director, Oregon and Southwest Washington
  • Jenni Dingeldein, Senior Business Development Director, Oregon and Southwest Washington
  • Cheryl Dale, Executive Director, Puget Sound
  • Shannon MacAdam, Senior Business Development Director, Sacramento
  • Jessica Gordon Lannom, Executive Director, Sacramento
  • Kristen VanWart, Business Development Director, San Diego
  • Stephanie Clark, Senior Business Development Director, San Diego
  • Alex Haygood, Senior Business Development Director, Silicon Valley
  • Nickki Peavey, Vice President, Corporate Relations
  • Connie Markley, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development
  • Kristie Tagg, Senior Vice President
  • Suzanne Bartlett, Senior Vice President

Our 2013 goal achieved award winners, recognized for achieving and exceeding goal last fiscal year:Congratulations to our Greater Phoenix team for exceeding their goals!

  • Brian Zambor, Youth Market Director, Sacramento
  • Dawn McCutcheon, Youth Market Director, Seattle
  • Erin Kennedy, Business Development Director, Central Valley
  • Julie Liebel, Executive Director, Central Valley and Kern County
  • Lori Suan, Executive Director, Hawaii
  • Katie Oakman, Senior Business Development Director, Orange County
  • Marissa Fortuno, for her role as Business Development Director, Orange County
  • Mary Ostrander, Business Development Director, San Diego
  • Maria Olson, Executive Director, San Diego
  • Cindy Noboa Garcia, Senior Business Development Director, Los Angeles
  • Kimberly Baptista, Business Development Director, Greater Bay Area
  • Erica Ralston, Business Development Director, Heart Walk, Sacramento
  • Karen Rudd, Executive Director, Northern Nevada
  • Julie Whitehouse, Executive Director, Stockton
  • Lauri Buzianis, Business Development Director, Utah
  • Camie Sanchez, for her role as Business Development Director, Silicon Valley
  • Cordie Mcghee, Associate Director, Silicon Valley
  • Keri Mcghee, Senior Business Development Director, Silicon Valley
  • Keri Janssen, Executive Director, Silicon Valley
  • Emily Reneau, Business Development Director, Central Coast
  • Lisa Dosch, Executive Director, Central and Northern Central Coast
  • Cayci Oliver, Senior Business Development Director, Greater Phoenix
  • Debra Wilson, for her role as Business Development Director, Greater Phoenix
  • Morgan Seller, Business Development Director, Greater Phoenix
  • Nora Perry, Business Development Director, Greater Phoenix
  • Joanie Que, Director, Participant Development
  • Melissa Oman, Heart Walk Consultant
  • Lisa Thompson, for her role as Vice President, Heart Walk
  • Liz Adams, Vice President, Social Market and Workplace Giving
  • Tammy Rocker, Senior Vice President
  • Kelly Grose, Senior Vice President

Emily Reneau and Lisa DoschLisa Thompson and Melissa Oman







There are many more great photos, please be sure to visit our WSA Flickr site and check them out. Congratulations and thanks to each of you for your outstanding work – I couldn’t be more proud! Thank you for dedicating your time and talents to our organization.

In our football competition, we saw some great picks this past week. Carrie Vines (Sacramento) led everyone with 14 correct picks. Cherry Tasker (Burlingame), Eric Thompson (San Diego), and Kuniko Okuda (Los Angeles) also had 14 correct picks. Right behind them were Erica Ralston (Sacramento), Steve Garell (Phoenix), Jordan Seavers (Sacramento), Kitty Dunmire (Seattle), Erica Phung (San Diego), and Ron Loomis (Phoenix) with 13 correct picks. This week’s upset pick comes courtesy of Kelli Petragallo. Kelli is predicting that the Miami Dolphins will defeat the New England Patriots.

Have a great weekend!

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.

06 DecExciting times across WSA

I hope you had a great holiday weekend. I certainly enjoyed the extra time it allowed me to spend with family and friends. I also hope that you were able to post your congratulations and well wishes to Kelly Grose, Cayci Oliver and Nickki Peavey — our American Heart Association Rome Betts award winners (special post on December 3). Now – let’s get to this week’s highlights!

2013 Phoenix Heart Ball Executive Leadership TeamHeart Ball Twenty Thirteen commemorated its 54th year as the premier fundraiser and social event in Phoenix, AZ. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this year’s “Serendipity” themed Heart Ball and it was an amazing experience. Some 675 attendees experienced a new and unique ballroom design at The Phoenician that included an intense spectrum of color, light and sound that transformed throughout the evening. Floral, food, music and so much more were presented in surprisingly unexpected ways. A special thank you to Heart Ball Chairman Susan Doria and the Heart Ball Twenty Thirteen Committee which is comprised of more than 100 Valley women! This dedicated group of leaders is talented in both philanthropy and business savvy. Congratulations on a truly outstanding event!Ginnie Gatlin, Roman Bowser and Kelly Grose at the 2013 Heart Ball

Our popular Check. Change. Control. program made its debut in San Mateo County, CA, last weekend. At a health fair hosted by State Assemblyman Kevin Mullins, and stellar volunteers Carol Chin and Estrella Manio, we registered more than 75 mall goers to check and monitor their blood pressure. Local staff Donna Lew and Mary Ann Gigliuto collaborated with a local pharmacist organization to conduct community screenings and sign up new participants with Heart 360. They are reaching out to various communities in the Greater Bay Area with a goal of registering nearly 1,000 people to help them manage their blood pressure numbers. Keep up the great work!Check. Change. Control.debuts in San Mateo County at a health fair hosted by State Assemblyman Kevin Mullins

And in more Greater Bay Area news… San Jose now has 800 new community lifesavers.  Hundreds of middle-school students piled into the school cafeteria at Bridges Academy for Hands-Only CPR training thanks to a grant from the Sharks Foundation. Community CPR manager Sylvia Beanes, volunteers, firefighters from the San Jose Fire Department and school faculty all worked together to guide the students through the training. Each student at Bridges Academy received the Hands-Only CPR kit to share with their family and friends and teach them, too! Excellent teamwork – thank you!Sylvia Beanes teaches San Jose students and Bridges Academy CPR

We also have great news to celebrate from Utah! Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, advocates and staff – stroke and heart attack patients in Utah will now receive the lifesaving services they need from hospitals that meet our national accreditation standards. These new facility designations result in great potential for saved lives and improvements to quality of life across the state. This goal win comes after years of collaborating with the Utah Department of Health, the Utah Hospital Association, and many others. What a great win!

And in NFL news, football season is in full swing and week 13 was another great week. Congrats to Kelli Petragallo (Spokane) who blew away the competition with 14 correct picks. Right behind Kelli were Eric Batch (Los Angeles), Scott Brown (Salt Lake City), Marc Watterson (Salt Lake City), Chris Roller (Las Vegas) and Kristin Telin (Spokane) with 12 correct picks.

What a busy time – and certainly productive time it has been for our supporters. Have a great weekend and thank you for all you do!

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.

03 Dec2012-13 Rome Betts Award Winners

I just couldn’t wait until Friday to share the great news. We were recently informed that we have THREE Rome Betts award winners in our midst in the Western States Affiliate.

Rome BettsFor those who are unfamiliar, the Rome Betts award is a very prestigious and highly coveted top honor given to well-deserving American Heart Association staff. The award recognizes staff for outstanding leadership, professionalism and dedication. It is given in memory of Rome Betts, the association’s executive director from 1949 to 1968. After the AHA reorganized into a voluntary health organization, Mr. Betts led our expansion into educational, community service and research activities.

A Rome Betts Award recipient consistently performs well in their areas of expertise. They demonstrate value and show integrity, excellence, vision, inclusiveness and sensitivity in their work. One award is given nationally to an individual in each Health Strategy, Development and Support Services department.

Kelly Grose, Executive Director, Phoenix, AZ wins a prestigious Rome Betts award


Our first award winner is in the Executive Director category for metro markets 1-50. Kelly Grose has provided outstanding leadership in the Phoenix Division – and it shows! Under her leadership the market has grown substantially in both development and community outreach efforts.

Cayci Oliver, Heart Walk Director, Phoenix, Arizona wins a prestigious Rome Betts award


There must be something in the water in the Copper State. Our next award also comes from Arizona and is for a Heart Walk Director for metro markets 1-50. Cayci Oliver in the Phoenix Division has done an incredible job cultivating volunteers and growing revenue and participation in the Phoenix Heart Walk.


Nickki Peavey wins the Rome Betts award for Corporate Relations

And last, but certainly not least, please join me in congratulating Nickki Peavey for her Rome Betts award for Corporate Relations. Nickki has helped make the American Heart Association a well-known name in many markets, opening doors to relationships with businesses that were previously closed.

I am very proud of the efforts these special individuals have made to promote our mission and save lives. Thank you Kelly, Cayci and Nickki for your outstanding work this past year. I look forward to watching the next great step in your careers.

22 NovThankful

As I look over this week’s highlights and head into Thanksgiving next week, I am reminded that we have so much to be thankful for.

Tips for Daily Living Library bannerOne of the advantages of being a large voluntary health organization is the availability of tools and resources we have to share with our supporters near and far. Technology provides us a new and powerful way to reach our constituents. Nationally, we recently launched a virtual volunteerism initiative, specifically, for stroke. The Tips for Daily Living Library hosts videos from stroke survivors, caregivers and volunteers across the country, sharing how they’ve found success doing everyday activities. I encourage you to check out this great site and share it with those you know who have been touched by stroke.

The Phoenix Heart Ball honored Edward B. Diethrich, M.D., with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cardiovascular Science & MedicineLast week in Phoenix, I had the opportunity to take part in a very special event. The Phoenix Heart Ball will honor Edward B. Diethrich, M.D., with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cardiovascular Science & Medicine. It is one of the top honors given by the AHA to an individual who embodies the mission of the organization. In anticipation of the event, a VIP reception was hosted at the home of Drs. Jacque Sokolov and Mitzi Krockover. This is the first time this prestigious award has been presented to someone in Phoenix. Dr. Diethrich was surrounded by 75 of his family, friends, co-workers and leadership from both the AHA and the Phoenix Heart Ball. Thank you, Ted Terrific, for your amazing contributions to  cardiovascular science.

AHA's Chris Roller at the Nevada Advocacy ForumA unique training in Reno recently armed  our You’re the Cure advocates with communication and lobbying skills. The American Heart and American Stroke Association joined forces with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association in Nevada, Nevada Cancer Coalition, Nevada Public Health Association and GlaxoSmithKlein to present the program. Top on the list – attendees learned how to advocate for improved health policies. Assemblymen David Bobzien and Michael Sprinkle gave a presentation  on the legislative process and how best to communicate with legislators. This successful event was promoted via great media coverage on KTVN-CBS!

collage from the 2013 Los Angeles Heart Walks

In sunny Southern California, more than 16,000 people participated in Heart & Stroke Walks held in seven cities in Los Angeles County this fall, raising more than $1 million! The walks – held in Palmdale, Pomona, Pasadena, Downtown L.A., Valencia, Santa Monica and Long Beach – were aimed at encouraging healthy living and raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke. Noteworthy accomplishments include extending our reach to four additional cities, doubling walker participation and engaging more than 300 hundred volunteers. Two of the largest walk teams were Union Bank and UCLA Health, which raised more than $143,000 and $107,000, respectively. Four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu joined the festivities and shared his story at the Pasadena and Santa Monica walks. Jesse contracted rheumatic fever when he was four years old, leaving a hole in his heart valve and causing his heart to grow weaker. He played with the San Francisco 49ers for 15 years with this dangerous heart condition. Jesse, who has undergone two heart valve replacement surgeries, thanked participants for supporting the AHA’s research efforts. He noted that research is a primary reason he can call himself a survivor. Local dance music recording artist Joe Aviance attended most walks and inspired others with his health journey. Joe lost 250 pounds over two years by walking regularly and eating healthy. View photos from all seven heart walks on Flickr and watch the compilation video made by Joe Aviance.Los Angeles Heart Walk compilation video made by Papa Joe Aviance

John Madden with 6 legged turkeyAs we head into a week filled with holiday infused games, congrats should go to Jordan Seavers (Sacramento) who led everyone with 12 correct picks. Mike Castillo (Sacramento) also had 12 correct picks. Marc Watterson (Salt Lake City), Eric Batch (Los Angeles), Lindsay Hovind (Seattle), Ron Loomis (Phoenix), and Kimberly Baptista (Oakland) all had 11 correct picks. We also saw movement in the overall standings. Chris Roller regained first place with 101 points. Steve Garell is now in second place with 100 points and Eric Batch and Kuniko Okuda are tied for third place with 99 points. Finally, congrats to Josh Brown who last week correctly predicted that the Oakland Raiders would upset the Houston Texans. This week’s upset comes from Lindsay Hovind. Lindsay is predicting that the New England Patriots will upset Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Please know how very thankful I am for the amazing volunteers and staff who are responsible for the incredible work we accomplish on a daily basis. I would like to wish you all a happy AND healthy Thanksgiving. I’ll be taking a week off from posting next week and will enjoy doing the same!

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.

15 NovNational Eating Healthy Day – Working to Make EVERY Day Healthy!

National Eating Healthy Day on Nov. 6 was really important for those of us embroiled in the fight against unhealthy lifestyles. We took part in many fun and engaging activities across our 10 states, reminding people that every day is an opportunity to start making positive food choices and begin a journey towards better health.

Lauri Buzianis gives a NEHD cooking demo at Draper Senior CenterIn Utah, volunteers and staff know it’s never too late to start healthy habits. Business Development Director Lauri Buzianis gave a cooking demonstration at the Draper Senior Center. She prepared heart-healthy bran muffins, veggie quiche and fruit salad with cranberry poppy seed dressing. The group thoroughly enjoyed the food and were quick to share their healthy eating tips, too. It is wonderful that just talking about this important issue can get people excited and engaged.

Executive Challenge and National Eating Healthy Day reception in Orange CountyIn Orange County, CA,  over 40 people attended the Executive Challenge and National Eating Healthy Day reception. Jeff Dennis, Executive Leadership Team member and Managing Partner at Newmeyer & Dillion LLP,  graciously agreed to host this event. Several volunteers were recognized and honored for their outstanding fundraising achievements in the Executive Challenge. They collectively raised over $120,000 the past six weeks! Heart attack survivor Jack McDonnell shared his inspiring story and the group received nutritional tips from Registered Dietician Lisa Gibson. A proclamation from Newport Beach Councilman and heart attack survivor Tony Petros was also read. As a special thank you, the employees of Newmeyer and Dillion also put together a healthy cookbook as a takeaway for the guests. Well done, Orange County!

Reno National Eating Healthy Day cooking demoIn Reno, National Eating Healthy Day local sponsor Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, reminded people that small changes can lead to big payoffs. Richard Bryan, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.C., encouraged all Reno residents to take a few extra minutes in the morning to pack a heart-healthy lunch. Elisa Mische from Saint Mary’s Center Health and Fitness engaged the Rotary Club of Reno with a heart-healthy cooking demonstration. Nice job, Reno!

Las Vegas Heart Walk 5k run winner, 60-year-old Terry StockdaleIn other Nevada news, an estimated 4,000 people joined in on the fun at the Las Vegas Heart Walk. For the fourth year in a row, a 5K run was also included to the delight of 200+ local runners. I am thrilled to share that the timed race winner was 60-year-old volunteer and supporter Terry Stockdale. Way to go, Terry! The event had a fun advocacy spin with Representative Steven Horsford serving as the guest survivor speaker and Mayor Carolyn Goodman giving an opening welcome. Some 48 companies participated, Las Vegas Heart Walk with Mayor Carolyn Goodman helping to raise nearly $250,000. The incoming Heart Walk Chair Rob Freymuller, CEO of Summerlin Hospital, confirmed his company’s $20,000 sponsorship for next year. The Las Vegas Heart Walk is the only non-profit event to have the designation of being a REDISCOVER Downtown event. Because of it, we received some nice press and attention from key players in the downtown community. Thanks to the many volunteers and staff who made the event such a great success!

Jump Rope For Heart at Saint Simon and JudeAnd in more great Orange County news: For the past 16 years Saints Simon and Jude School in Huntington Beach, CA, has been an active Jump Rope For Heart(JRFH) supporter with students collectively raising over $145,000 during that period! Volunteer and physical education teacher Karen Foster has been coordinating the event since the school first joined. The AHA has a deep connection since Orange County board member Aimee Wesiner has an eighth grader at the school and has been participating in JRFH since kindergarten! For years this wonderful program has helped students not only learn the importance of physical activity and philanthropy, they also learn leaderships skills and the value of helping others.

Cherry Tasker in her Raven's jerseyLast week may have been a record for upsets as there were eight! Congrats to Cherry Tasker (Burlingame) on correctly predicting the Baltimore Ravens’ victory. (See attached picture of Cherry in her beloved Ravens jersey.) Eric Batch (Los Angeles) led everyone with 10 correct picks and the right point spread. Steve Garell (Phoenix) also had 10 correct picks. Marc Watterson (Salt Lake City), Chris Roller (Las Vegas), Cherry Tasker, Kelli Petragallo (Spokane), Kuniko Okuda (Los Angeles), Kathy Young (Phoenix), Lindsay Hovind (Seattle) and Kimberly Baptista (Oakland) all had 8 correct picks. We also saw movement in the overall standings. Steve Garell is in first place with 92 points. Chris Roller dropped down a spot with 91 points, and Kuniko Okuda, Shannon MacAdam (Sacramento), and Erica Ralston (Sacramento) are tied with 89 points. This week’s upset prediction comes from Josh Brown in Sacramento. This loyal Raider fan is predicting that the Oakland Raiders will beat the Houston Texans.

As people gear up for the hustle and bustle of the approaching holidays, I want to remind everyone to remember the importance of continuing to make healthy choices. It makes for much less painful New Year’s resolutions!

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.

08 NovDo You Believe in the Wizard of Cause?

Every day I witness our American Heart Association family demonstrating its values of caring and service to the community. I am proud to share that our annual Employee Giving Campaign is just another way we demonstrate our passion for making a difference in the communities in which we live and work. Last week we launched the campaign with a “Wizard of Cause” theme and a hope of achieving 100 percent participation and raising $110,000!

Your gift is a powerful way to improve the lives of others. Together, we are contributing to causes and organizations that are important to our employees. Below are a few of the many personal stories we received from AHA employees about the organizations closest to their hearts:

“I give to the American Stroke Association because both of my parents are stroke survivors.” Cayci Oliver Senior Business Development Director, Heart Walk Greater Phoenix “I give to the American Stroke Association because both of my parents are stroke survivors.”
Cayci Oliver
Senior Business Development Director, Heart Walk
Greater Phoenix


“I give to the American Diabetes Association because I want to help find a cure for my brother's type I diabetes.” Chelsea Berg Business Development Director, Heart Walk Sacramento


“I give to the American Diabetes Association because I want to help find a cure for my brother’s type I diabetes.”
Chelsea Berg
Business Development Director, Heart Walk


“I give to the AHA because I lost my father to heart disease. I am confident that if he would have taken action with Life’s Simple Seven tools he would still be here today.” Stacy Neiman Vice President, Social Market Greater Bay Area “I give to the AHA because I lost my father to heart disease. I am confident that if he would have taken action with Life’s Simple Seven tools he would still be here today.”
Stacy Neiman
Vice President, Social Market
Greater Bay Area

I am happy to share that as of Thursday, we are at $94,114 with 67 percent of our staff having already contributed. Thanks to all of you for considering making a donation to help us reach our employee campaign goals. Together we can make a difference in our community and in the lives of those who need our help.

And what better way to start the first full week of November than with a feel good story from our friends way up north – where Chugiak Elementary School in rural Alaska hosted a Jump Rope For Heart event last week. It was their second year participating and students have definitely taken it to new levels. During a kick-off assembly, a two-year-old survivor energized students and excited them about the idea of helping others with “sick hearts.” By the end of the assembly they were chanting “We saved Chayse!” Within a week they had already raised more money online than the previous year and quadrupled their online fundraising. They capped the experience off by making a great local video to share and inspire everyone. Excellent work! Chugiak Elementary School Jump Rope For Heart


Coachella Valley Heart and Stroke Walk torchesBlue skies and sunshine brought smiles to the more than 1,000 people who came out to support our mission at the Coachella Valley Heart and Stroke Walk last weekend. New to the event this year pavilions where attendees could learn CPR and reminders of the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Nursing students from California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus and College of the Desert provided blood pressure other health screenings. Local board member Ojas Buch chaired the event which brought in $135,000 and counting! Thanks to the many volunteers and staff who were instrumental in making this event successful.Coahella Valley Heart and Stroke Walk

I’ll close this week with a great story from our Phoenix division. For the second year in a row, local resident Janie Powers celebrated her birthday with a mass CPR training of her family and friends. She created this new birthday tradition after she experienced an arrhythmia episode on August 20, 2012. This year more 50 people were in attendance for her birthday/CPR Celebration of Life Party. And just when I thought the story couldn’t get any better – she shared that her brother learned CPR at her last birthday and used it to save a life at a construction site. This is a great opportunity to remind our supporters that we need YOUR help to meet our Western States Affiliate goal of training more than 2,000,000 people in CPR. Make sure that no training goes unaccounted for! Please remember to complete the Hands-Only CPR Training Report and submit the form to Sylvia Beanes so that we have a record of just how many lifesavers the AHA has trained. With all hands on deck, I have no doubt that we will exceed our goal.Janie Powers CPR Celebration of Life Birthday Party

For those following the football challenge — we had another great week of NFL games. Shannon MacAdam (Sacramento) led everyone with 10 correct picks. Lindsay Hovind (Seattle) also had 10 correct picks. Kitty Dunmire (Seattle), Chris Roller (Las Vegas) and Kelli Petragallo (Spokane) had 9 correct picks. In the overall standings, Chris Roller is now in first place with 84 points. Right behind him are Steve Garell (Phoenix), and Erica Ralston (Sacramento), with 83 points. This week’s upset pick comes from Cherry Tasker in Burlingame. Cherry, fresh from a visit to her hometown of Baltimore last week, is picking her Ravens to beat Cincinnati.

Thanks for everything you do to make our organization great. Make it a great week!

Please continue to submit highlights to Kelli Petragallo.