Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month Evolved from Patient’s Passion
September 28, 2011
Summary: Raising afib awareness is intensely personal for StopAfib.org founder, Mellanie True Hills, which led her to create Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month.
Dallas, TX — September 2011 is the fifth annual Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Raising afib awareness is intensely personal for StopAfib.org founder, Mellanie True Hills, and led her to create the first Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month in 2007. Working with other organizations, Hills helped urge the U.S. Senate to officially designate National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month in September 2009.
For Hills, a highlight of Afib Month 2011 was the privilege of following fellow afib patient, Barry Manilow, at the podium before members of Congress. Both encouraged House members to sign on as co-sponsors of the Atrial Fibrillation Resolution (House Resolution 295), which prioritizes afib research and education but does not seek new funding. She also thanked Senate members for passing a similar resolution in July (Senate Resolution 243). To ask your representative to support the House resolution, go to http://bit.ly/hres295.
Afib, the most common irregular heart beat, can lead to dementia, heart failure, stroke, or even death. Many do not realize that they have it, and many who have it don’t realize how serious it is. Nearly 35 percent of all afib patients will have a stroke. Hills had blood clots on her first afib episode and lived with the constant fear of a stroke. But on September 13, 2011, she celebrated being afib-free for six years from a procedure.
Not one to stand on the sidelines and watch others suffer, Hills started StopAfib.org, a non-profit patient advocacy organization and website to support those living with atrial fibrillation. Her years of work and effort are paying off because more afib patients are getting diagnosed and treated and their quality of life is improving. Raising awareness has benefits beyond improving patients’ lives. Afib has a real physical and economic impact on patients, families, and countries, and preventing strokes is much cheaper than paying for their devastation.
To raise afib awareness, StopAfib.org, as a member of the Facing AFib and AF Stat coalitions, has helped launch public service announcements featuring daytime TV star Susan Lucci and NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, and helped the Heart Rhythm Society get out a PSA called “A-Fib Feels Like.”
For StopAfib.org, Afib Month has included:
- Hosting the Team AFib coalition webinar, AFib CARE: Creating A Role for Effective Teams, for patients, care supporters, and healthcare professionals
- Co-authoring with a group of experts, Action for Stroke Prevention, and launching in Mexico City the “How Can We Avoid a Stroke Crisis in Latin America” report
- Writing a regular Patient Perspective column for EP Lab Digest with the September column focusing on how Stopping Atrial Fibrillation Is Big News!
- Adding new material and capabilities to StopAfib.org, including expanded catheter ablation content, easy search capabilities, translation of the site into 50 languages, and a Global Afib Services Locator
During Afib Month and beyond, you can help. Forward this information to someone who may have the condition, and check out these resources on atrial fibrillation:
- Atrial Fibrillation Month Raises Awareness about this Common, Yet Unknown Condition
- Top Ten Surprising Things You Don’t Know About Afib
- Get Started Learning About Atrial Fibrillation Online Guide
StopAfib.org was founded in 2007 to improve the quality of life for those living with atrial fibrillation and to save lives by raising awareness of afib and thus decreasing afib-related strokes. HON Code Certified StopAfib.org is for patients by patients, and is the most visited arrhythmia site.