James L. Young II - Four Ways Being An HF Ambassador Can Promote Change
James ignored classic heart failure symptoms, but once faced with a frightening prognosis, he made major changes to turn his health around. Today he volunteers as an ambassador for our Rise Above Heart Failure program. While having congestive heart failure - with no one to turn to who could relate to what I was feeling - I felt like the lonely man on an island – all alone. Oft times in bed, while either in the hospital or at home, I would just stare into nothingness – left with my own thoughts.
From that experience soon after my diagnosis, came a more positive outcome. My primary care physician looked me square in the eyes and told me I must now become “responsible.” Responsible in being transparent with my story because there are thousands that need to see and hear me so that those who suffer from chronic heart disease can see an actual living and breathing success story.
A few years later, after feeling confident enough to begin heart health advocacy, I reached out to the local American Heart Association office and they soon began to include me in community outreach initiatives which led to media opportunities on radio, television, web and print outlets. Every opportunity that the American Heart Association involved me in afforded me opportunities to reach people and give hope to heart patients plus share preventative advice for others to avoid what I underwent.
Now, being an official Heart Failure Ambassador allows me to spread the message and mission of the American Heart Association, which is to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.Being bestowed with such a distinguished title can promote change in the following areas:
1) I am a voice for the voiceless2) I have an attentive ear to the concerns of heart patients, care givers, and survivors3) I am a heart health missionary to help reduce cases of cardiovascular disease in this society through advocacy initiatives4) Encourage all who I come in contact with that “Life Is Why” we all should be concerned about the leading cause of death in this nation and let's work towards propelling a healthier reality for all.
In closing, I think every Ambassador's mission ought to be to live out this quote:
“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” - Shannon L. Adler