Get Involved: From the Heart

By Ettie Berneking
In Feature, Photos, Style

Jasmine Huda knows the importance of a healthy heart, and she’s on a mission to spread the word.

 

It can be easy to forget about our  hearts. The vital organ that powers our very existence is often abused, pushed aside and forgotten, especially amongst the surge of other causes  grappling for our attention: breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, Alzheimer’s…the list goes on. But, during February—National Heart Month—the American Heart Association steps up to remind us just how important heart health is.

The AHA can’t do it alone, so they have some help—which is where the Passion Volunteers come in. These ready-to-serve volunteers work within their communities to help spread the association’s message and educate others about keeping their hearts healthy. Jasmine Huda, an anchor on KMOV, is a Passion Volunteer for the St. Louis
area. She’s a relatively new member to the heart campaign—having joined in 2010—but her efforts within the organization have already made her an invaluable part of the team, says Madelyn Alexander, communications director for the St. Louis chapter of the AHA.

At 33 years old, Huda is already familiar with the enormous impact heart disease can have. Both of her parents have diabetes, and there is a long history of heart disease in the family, so Huda has always been aware of the dangers of not taking care of her heart. But, she says, she didn’t really “get it” until a few years ago, when she took her mother in for a routine checkup, and the doctors found a blockage requiring two coronary artery
stents. Huda’s mother was only 65 at the time. “What was supposed to be a routine doctor visit ended up being a pretty eye-opening experience for the whole family,” Huda explains.

So, with the support of her team at KMOV, Huda decided to help spread the message about heart health to women across St. Louis by joining the ranks of volunteers with the AHA. Whether through PSAs or events like the celebrity bartender night she participated in last August, she enjoys being able to use her role at KMOV to get the message out. At the celebrity bartender night, Huda was pleased to meet people who weren’t even aware
the event was taking place, in addition to those who came out in support of the campaign. “I’d like to think they left with a little more information [about heart disease] than when they arrived,” she says.

Being informed is a key tool to heart health, Huda emphasizes. As the No. 1 killer of American women, heart disease claims more lives each year than cancer—and it is the leading cause of death in the world, according to the North Shore Heart Research Foundation. The Center for Disease Control estimated 785,000 Americans had a coronary event in 2010 alone.

As a Passion Volunteer, Huda stresses to women that the key to staying healthy is being proactive. Be proactive about getting educated on heart health, be proactive in making doctor’s appointments, and be proactive in figuring out what you, personally, need to do to maintain your heart’s health.

This February, Jasmine hopes to help educate women around St. Louis about the risks of heart disease at the 2012 Go Red for Women luncheon, which she’ll be emceeing. The luncheon, which began in 2004, has become the leading initiative in raising awareness of heart disease in women and empowering them to take action against its devastating risks. Women from around the St. Louis area turn out in red to hear inspiring survival stories, to
share their own stories and wisdom and to learn about heart health.

Passion Volunteers help create and assist with other Go Red For Women awareness opportunities throughout the year as well, with events like the Go Red for Women Casting Call, Wear Red Day and Fresh 102.5’s Wine & Chocolate event.

To become a Passion Volunteer, contact Rachelle Bartnick, Community Health
Director, at 314.692.5674.

 

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American Heart Association Passion Volunteer, Jasmine Huda

 

Photo credit: Lily Liu

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