Clear Lake Chatter

March 30th, 2020

Executive Leadership Team members Brandy Gates, Sarah Ferguson, Karen Keesler, Emmeline Dodd and Kimberly Fleming, from left, get together to lend a hand with preparations for the Go Red for Women Luncheon benefitting the American Heart Association.

Sea of Red raises $275,000 for Heart Association

YOU HAVE TO admit it — there’s nothing quite like walking into a hotel and seeing hundreds of women dressed in red. And men wearing red ties.

But, while hotel guests might have been puzzled, we all know it was the American Heart Association’s 2020 Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort.

And, not only did the 480 attending present a beautiful sea of red, they raised $265,000 to help fight heart disease — $40,000 more than last year’s $225,000 — with Chairman Wendy Drapela and Survivor Champion Amy Doherty joining AHA officials Michelle Stoddard and Macy Osoria in welcoming the arriving crowd that included Cindy Harreld DeWease, Barbara Clariday, Sheree Frede, Michelle Holland, Kim Woods, Jana Reed, Sarah FergusonJill Reason, Karen McCorkle, Jill Lammers, Brandy Gates and Emmeline Dodd.

In fact, Emmeline was one of five women selected to tell their story of their fight with heart disease. Others were Eva Baker, Brandi Arnold, Alma Solis and Meloney Bean.

Go Red for Women 2020 Chairman Wendy Drapela, right, and Survivor Champion Amy Doherty await the arriving crowd for this year’s luncheon.

Also recognized were members of the Circle of Red – Tamara Baker, Meloney Bean, Mike and Sherri Belsley, Martha Bowles, Tami Brantley McEwen, Kippy Caraway, Jonathan Cottrell, Rita Cunningham, Lance and Laurie Dahse, Emmeline Dodd, Wendy Drapela, Lila Fass, Anita Fogtman, Jerry Foyt, Kimberly Fleming, Michelle Jacobs, Stephen Jones, Yvette Jones, Jill Lammers, Karen and Mark Keesler,  Misty Killebrew, Michael and Ann Wismer Landolt, Holly Lilley, Dinah Matthews, Joan McKinney, Dr. Monte Orahood, Greg and Pam Ploss, Theressa Riggs, Dr. Amber Shamburger, Wendy Shaw, Gretchen Sheehan, Marilyn Sims, Randy Stine, Jim Sweeney, Darcy Whatley, Matthew and Angie Weinman, Mary Williams and Keely Wood.

KPRC Ch. 2’s Jonathan Martinez served as emcee and also took time to thank Event Committee members for their many contributions – Teresa Vencil, Sandy Adams, Teresa Provis, Laurie Dahse, Mary Williams, Donna Orozco, Valerie Blumfield, Jill Reason, Meloney Bean, Darcy Santana, Dinah Matthews, Kelli Reddinger, Stephanie Rice, Amy Doherty and Kim McFate.

UHCL President Dr. Ira Blake, from left, says hello to Pearland Mayor Tom Reid, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell and, seated, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey.


League City Mayor Pat Hallisey and his wife Janice and Pearland Mayor Tom Reid were in the massive crowd, as were Congressman Randy Weber and his wife, Brenda; State Sen. Larry Taylor, State Rep. Dennis Paul, BAHEP President Bob Mitchell and his wife, Joan; Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith and CCISD Trustees Dr.Laura DuPont and Win Weber, with CCISD Communications Director Elaina Polsen; attorney Becky Reitz, Cheryl Maultsby, Rebecca Lilley, Ashlea Quinonez, Karen Reed, Jim and Jane Sweeney, Kelly Williams, Kimberly Halliburton, Kaci Hanson, Laurie Wood, Brandy Taylor, Vickie Brown, Kay Smith, Eric and Megan Green, Rick Clapp, Chris Premont, and Drs. Matthew Higgs, Hannah Dineen, Roxanne Edrington and Ann Haggard. Plus a few hundred more.

Space Center Rotary members get together for a photo with honoree Suzi Howe, in red, as the event comes to an end.

Rotarians celebrate Suzi Howe’s honor

Bill and Suzi Howe take part in the Rotary ceremony at Palms Event Center celebrating her appointment to the 2020-21 Rotary International Board of Directors.

SUZI HOWE, a member of Space Center Rotary Club in Clear Lake, was honored Feb. 16 when some 200 Rotarians from all over the Houston area gathered at the Palms Event Center on the Gulf Freeway to celebrate her appointment to the Rotary International Board of Directors.

 Howe, who lives in Friendswood, is a former president of the Space Center club and a former Rotary district governor, who is always busy with Rotary activities.

 “Rotary has a million or so members all around the world, and to be chosen to serve on the 20-member Rotary International Board of Directors is quite an honor,” Rotary District Governor-elect Scott Rainey, a past president of the Clear Lake club, said.

 “We were both amazed and shocked when you think of the size of Rotary but could not think of a more deserving member,” Assistant District Governor Nancy Anderson added.

 Rotary District 5890 hosted the celebratory event honoring her as an incoming Rotary International director for the 2020 – 2022 Rotary years. A special guest was David L. Shaw, a founding member of Space Center Rotary nearly 66 years ago on Aug. 6, 1954.

 State Rep. Dennis Paul presented her with a flag that flew over the Texas State Capital in her honor, while Kippy Caraway presented a proclamation signed by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declaring Feb. 16 Suzi Howe Day in the Bayou City and Friendswood Mayor Mike Foreman came with a proclamation he signed also declaring Suzi Howe Day in his city — as Suzi’s husband Bill, also a Rotarian, looked on with pride.

Howe, a former owner of South Shore Montessori School in League City and a graduate of the University of Kansas, has spent much of the past several years working with Rotary committees and their projects.

Her selection couldn’t come at a better time — Houston will host the Rotary International Convention June 4 – 8, 2022.

Friendswood Mayor Mike Foreman, left, says hello to State Rep. Dennis Paul and his wife, Eliza, as they arrive at the Palms Event Center for the party honoring Suzi Howe.


 Some of the local Rotarians in the crowd were Club President Mike Porterfield and his wife, Cindy; Wayne and Marilyn Musial, Delia Stephens, Mary Alys Cherry, Adrienne and Dr. Vissett Sun, Gary Johnson, Bill Geissler, Raymond Moore, Nancy and Robert Anderson, Alan and Gaye Wylie, Scott Rainey, Rev. Steve Oglesbee, Stan Galanski, Darryl Smith, Madella Williams, Randy Straach, Michael Holt, Bob Anderson, Jim Saxe and Dennis and Eliza Paul.

Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital Awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

January 28th, 2020

Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers.

“This certification recognizes our commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients in the Pearland and Brazoria County community,” said Kyle Price, senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital.  “We are proud to achieve this great distinction of becoming a Primary Stroke Center.”

The hospital earned this distinction after the Joint Commission conducted an on-site review in November.  Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement.

“Achieving this distinction was a team effort and represents to our community the quality of care we are able to provide to meet the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients in order to foster the best outcomes,” said Faraz Javed, performance improvement coordinator for stroke and chest pain at Memorial Hermann Pearland.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year more than 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s fourth leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program — the nation’s first — in 2003. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available

For more information on Memorial Hermann Pearland, visit

Houston Methodist Clear Lake honored for stroke care

July 22nd, 2019

The American Heart Association recently recognized Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital for its excellence in stroke care.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake was awarded the AHA’s Get With The Guidelines/Gold Plus Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Quality Achievement Award – a national honor presented to hospitals that meet strict quality measures related to stro

ke diagnosis, treatment and care.

Because time is critical in stroke care, AHA’s Get With The Guidelines: Stroke program gives hospitals research-based guidelines for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients, reducing the possibility of disability or death and allowing for a faster, more complete recovery. The program also works to ensure that hospitals provide patients with education and assistance to manage their health and prevent recurrent stroke.

“This is a significant honor because it recognizes the ongoing efforts our physicians and staff make to improve the quality of care for stroke patients,” said Dan Newman, CEO of Houston Methodist Clear Lake. “The use of evidence-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes is making a significant difference in stroke care across the country, and we are committed to continuing to improve and enhance not just the immediate care we provide when a patient presents, but ongoing care and education to ensure that patients can resume a high quality of life following their stroke and minimize their future risks.”

To qualify for the honor, Houston Methodist Clear Lake met a variety of quality measures designed to reduce the time between a patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with alteplase, a clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator.

According to the AHA, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Clear Lake Chatter: Go Red for Women Luncheon raises $225,000

April 1st, 2019

These ladies make a pretty picture as they enjoy the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City. They are, from left, standing, Becky Reitz, Jill Reason, Anita Fogtman; seated, Marcy Fryday, Marsha Taylor, Julie Osburn, Mary Ellen Arledge, Sandra Sellers and Shelley Rogers Scoggin.

IT TOOK A LOT of people forming a sea of red, but the American Heart Association coffers are bulging with some $225,000 raised at the 2019 Go Red for Women Luncheon.
And, what fun it was seeing all the fancy dresses the ladies arrived in and bright red ties the guys wore.

Co-Chairmen Jim and Jane Sweeney couldn’t stop smiling as they mingled with the arriving crowd, as did members of their Leadership team – Tama Brantley McEwen, Sarah Ferguson, Gloria Greene, Santiago Mendoza Jr., Theressa Riggs and Darcy Whatley.All could hardly wait to see the fruits of their work over the previous months.

Likewise for the Event Committee Chairmen Stephanie Rice, Sandy Adams and Laurie Dahse and their volunteers – James Blasczyk, Abbie Contreras, Brandy Gates, Hilary Hart, Kim Keen, Donna Orozco, Mandy Pistone, Teresa Provis, Kelli Reddinger, Elizabeth Quigley, Darcy Santala and Meloney Bean, who also spoke to the audience about surviving heart problems after the luncheon emcee, KPRC Ch. 2’s Jonathan Martinez, welcomed everyone.

Five victims of heart disease, Victoria De La Garza, Kelli Reddinger, Aubrey Allensworth, Carol Firmin and Sarah Weinman, shared their stories of survival for those attending. Sarah, for example, explained how she had won the battle with ovarian cancer only to find that the aggressive chemotherapy regimen had resulted in congestive heart failure. After a 10-year fight, she finally received a heart transplant in April 2018 and is doing well today and looking forward to the future.

Much to the delight of the donors known as Circle of Red members — Audra Bentley, Melaney Bean, Sherri Beisley, Tama Brandley McEwen, Kristie Brown, Laurie Dahse, Emmeline Dodd, Brandy Gates, Karen Keesler, Jane McFaddin, Darcy Santala, Dr. Amber Shamburger, Marilyn Sims, Jill Williams and Darcy Whatley and the Men Go Red members – Earl Armstrong, Brent Cockerham, Lance Dahse, Brad Gerke, Stephen K. Jones Jr., Dr. Monte Orahood, David Smith and Jim Sweeney.

State Sen. Larry Taylor was named the 2019 Iconic Heart Ambassador, winning over Dr. Bill Fisher, CPA Tom Richards and Dr. Selvin Sudhakar.

But the most memorable moment came when Jim and Jane Sweeney took the audience on a ride with them around town via video, singing, making up poems and in general just having a great time as the crowd cheered them on.

Just ask Jill Reason, Marcy Fryday, Becky Reitz, Marsha Taylor, Anita Fogtman, Julie Osburn, Sandra Sellers, Mary Ellen Arledge and Shelley Rogers Scoggin, Dawn Jackson, Jennifer Meekins, Robyn Weigelt, Sumer Dene, Rick Clapp, Amber Sample, Matthew and Angie Weinman or Congressman Randy Weber and his wife, Brenda.

Most can hardly wait until next year.

Astronaut addresses Museum Guild crowd
ASTRONAUT Jeffrey Williams was the speaker for the Bay Area Museum Guild’s monthly meeting at the museum, which was filled with members and their friends who wanted to hear about his space travels.

Colonel Williams, a retired Army officer, is a veteran of four space missions, and for some time held the American record for the most time spent in space, which was surpassed by his fellow astronaut, Peggy Whitson, in 2017.

Guild President Ava Galt, who came with her husband, Taylor Lake Village City Councilman Tony Galt, joined Vice Presidents Louise Russell and Gail Devensin welcoming Colonel Williams and his wife, Ann Marie, and showing them around the museum.

He also got to share his book, The Work of His Hands, A View of God’s Creation from Space, with the crowd, which included Mary and Dr. Terry Williams, Gib and Jan Larson, Sandi Allbritton, the vice presidents’ husbands, John Russell and Don Devens, Dave Kuenneke and son David Jr., Recording Secretary Lois Costinand her husband, Neldon, and Mary Ann Shallberg.

Looking around, you also might have spotted Taylor Lake Village Mayor Pro-tem Einar Goerland and his wife, Linda; Leo and Rose Marie Symmank, Julie Hayes, Cindy Pinson, David and Kandy Johnson, Judith and Michelle Scheuring, Lorie Duval, Roberta Liston, Barry and Betsy Poor, Jackie Myers, Marie Sumner, Ron Lohec, Ric Taylor, Kathy Herman, Gayle Nelson, Cathy Lee and Judy Staliwe.

The night would not be complete without a photo of Rosebud Caradec and CPA Tom Richards, dressed up as a leprechaun for the St. Patrick’s Day Party at Lakewood Yacht Club.

A St. Patty’s Day we’ll remember
ONE OF THE Bay Area’s liveliest St. Patrick’s Day parties no doubt was the one at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, where most everyone was Irish – at least for the night.
There was Irish music and Irish tap dancers to go with a variety of good Irish meals such as corned beef and cabbage –  all of which added up to quite a lively evening.

Popular CPA Tom Richards came dressed as a leprechaun, and everyone wanted a selfie with him – so many in fact, one would have thought he was George Clooney.

Among those who were successful were Lou and Alice Marinos and Jim and Ann O’Malley,who earlier had joined Earl and Barbara Phillips, Barbara’s mother and Mary Alys Cherry for dinner; Jim and Jane Sweeney and Rosebud Caradec.

American Heart Association Kicks-Off Heart Month With Awareness Activities Across Houston

January 31st, 2018

American Heart Month Begins Feb. 1

February marks the national celebration of American Heart Month, when the American Heart Association (AHA) shines its torch on the number one killer of all Americans – heart disease. While heart disease is a risk for all Americans, it’s no secret that women are at a greater risk. In fact, cardiovascular diseases cause one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Over the past decade, the AHA has made remarkable progress through its Go Red for Women® Campaign; however, there is still much work to do and awareness to raise so more women can be reached and more lives saved.

Throughout this iconic month, the Greater Houston area is encouraged to join the AHA’s efforts by participating in National Wear Red Day (Feb. 2), committing to a healthy lifestyle, and spreading the message that heart disease is the primary health threat for those that are near and dear to our hearts.

The AHA invites Houstonians to help amplify the month’s mission by taking part in the following events over the course of the next month:

Feb. 1 – 28, 2018:

Free Heart Month Guest Speaker:
AHA can provide a speaker to come and share the signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke, and speak about numerous topics. Organizers kindly request six-weeks lead time and an audience of at least 50 people. To request a speaker, click here: Bureau-Form_UCM_316657_Form.jsp

Jan 30 – Feb. 5, 2018:

Macy’s Wear Red Sale:
The Go Red for Women® national sponsor, Macy’s, will again offer all-day savings to customers that purchase a Red Dress Pin for $3.00. If customers purchase the pin or wear red they will receive a special 25% savings discount. Macy’s will donate 100% of all pin sales to Go Red for Women® – and the funds stay local! So shop your area Houston Macy’s that week!

Feb.2, 2018:

The 15 th Annual National Wear Red Day:
Wear Red Day:
Show your support by wearing red on Friday, Feb. 2, and throughout the month to build awareness and inspire action. #GoRedAndGive

Red Buildings:
Many Houston institutions will celebrate National Wear Red Day on Feb. 2 and Heart Month by turning their building red. Houston City Hall will light up its walls with up lighting, while buildings around the City of Houston, The Woodlands, and other suburban areas will go red.

Feb. 3, 2018:

Houston Heart Ball at Hilton Americas-Houston:
AHA hosts the most anticipated social event of the season, the 2018 The Beat Goes On Heart Ball chaired by Cathy & Joe Cleary. This elegant, black-tie event will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction. For more information visit:

Feb. 23, 2018:

Bay Area Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center:
Join the AHA as we celebrate the fight against the women’s greatest health threat with the annual Bay Area Go Red for Women® Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will bring back the annual Heart Throb competition and the third annual Survivors with Style Fashion Show. For more information, visit

Feb. 24, 2018:

Montgomery County Heart Ball at Woodlands Waterway Marriott:
AHA hosts one of the best parties in town, the 2018 An Exhilarating Evening at the Grand Prix Heart Ball chaired by Marina & Bryan Frenchak. The elegant, black-tie event will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction. For more information and tickets visit:


About Go Red For Women
In the United States, cardiovascular diseases kill approximately 1 in 3 women each year. Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and CVS Health, with additional support from our cause supporters. For more information, please visit or call 1-888- MY-HEART (1-888- 694-3278).

Find out more about American Heart Month and local Go Red For Women® activities by visiting and join the conversation with the #GoRedAndGive hashtag. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ahahouston.

Love your Valentine and their Heart

January 1st, 2018

By Nicole Dixon
American Heart Association

We made it through the holidays and are focused on New Year’s resolutions like getting healthy, losing some weight, and finding more time to exercise. Next thing you know, up sneaks the sweetest holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day.

It’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day and chocolate are a match made in heaven. As a matter of fact, according to, approximately 58 million pounds of chocolate candy and 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are bought during Valentine’s Day week each year.

So, what can you do to show your fondness to your sweetie on this special day while caring for their health and well-being? There are lots of healthy options like fruit baskets and non-edibles, but if your heart is set on showing your sweet side with chocolate, read on.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), researchers found that eating raw almonds with dark chocolate and cocoa significantly lowered the LDL (or bad) cholesterol for overweight and obese people.

The findings might not apply to everyone. For the small study, researchers followed 31 overweight and obese participants between the ages of 30 to 70. During the first month, participants didn’t eat any almonds, dark chocolate or cocoa. In month two they ate 42.5 grams of almonds per day, and in the third month they ate 43 grams of dark chocolate combined with 18 grams of cocoa powder. In the fourth – and final – month, participants ate all three foods. The results showed that eating almonds alone lowered LDL cholesterol by 7 percent, and the combination of the three reduced small, dense LDL particles that are a risk factor for heart disease.

Past research has shown health benefits of eating almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa, but this new study focuses on the health benefits for overweight and obese individuals. Unfortunately, caramel and nougat were not included in this study.

So, does this mean you can go hog wild on these snacks? That’s a negative, ghost rider. For this study, those grams equal out to small portions: nearly one-third a cup of almonds, one-quarter cup of dark chocolate and 2 1/3 teaspoons of cocoa per day. According to the lead author, Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State University, people can have around 270 discretionary calories each day. We should use those snack calories for something that’s tasty and good for our hearts, rather than focusing on snacks with added sugar.

Go ahead, give your heart to those you love, and love their heart by considering healthier options like dark chocolate covered almonds in moderate amounts, paired with some of your favorite red fruits such as strawberries, apples, pomegranates, and raspberries. It’s still a sweet treat that’s sure to say ‘I love you’ in more ways than one.

Why this matters
An estimated 28.5 million adults have total cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dL. This could place them at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.

New research shows that long-term exposure to even modestly elevated cholesterol levels can lead to coronary heart disease later in life.

Eating a healthy diet is a key factor for lowering your cholesterol.

If you’re one who likes to snack at work, small amounts of almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa may help get you through your day.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit

Hospital recognized for quality stroke care

November 3rd, 2017

Houston Methodist St. John Hospital has been cited for its care of stroke patients — the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines ® -Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll SM Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, evidenced-based guidelines.

To receive the Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for at least 12 consecutive months and during the same period achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

To qualify for the

, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Houston Methodist St. John earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to- date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed. This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said Dr. Nadim Islam, director of Emergency Medicine at St. John. “Houston Methodist St. John continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.”

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Houston Methodist St. Johnfor its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and professor of medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

Get With The Guidelines®-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

As a nurse and former stroke coordinator, Teri Ackerson is aware that every second counts when a stroke strikes. In May 2013, the training she used to help others helped save her own life. Ackerson’s left arm suddenly went numb, she felt the left side of her face droop and she was unable to speak. Despite her symptoms, Ackerson remained calm, made note of the timing of her symptoms and, with the help of her son, proceeded to get treatment quickly.

“Hospitals that follow AHA/ASA recommended guidelines not only know the importance to treat quickly with tPA, but they also follow evidence-based research that helps to determine why you had a stroke in the first place and report these findings,” said Ackerson, 46, who completed a marathon 26 days after her stroke. “Without the treatment I received, I would not have recovered as well as I did.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

The Silent Killer

February 1st, 2017

Rhonda De La Moriniere is an advocate for the American Heart Association

Mom of three shares how she survived 20 years of undiagnosed heart disease

For over 20 years, Rhonda De La Moriniere, a Bay Area mother of three, has been battling an internal war.

“I began having vertigo in my mid-twenties that was just explained away as being related to ear infections from my teens,” said De La Moriniere. “As the years went on, the symptoms became more pronounced.”

Those symptoms ranged from shortness of breath, pressure in her chest, numbness in her fingers and toes, fatigue, headaches, heat intolerance and low blood pressure.

De La Moriniere continued to see different doctors for years, being diagnosed with an ear infection, a kidney infection, Multiple Sclerosis and the autoimmune disorder, Lupus.

Then in 2013, she experienced something that forever changed her life. De La says, “I was an elementary school counselor and was at the school when I experienced weakness and numbing in my left hand. My left side became noticeably weaker and I lost all awareness for a moment and I felt suddenly confused. ”

It was then that a friend told De La Moriniere that it was time to go to the hospital. “She told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible and her brother in law [ a neurologist] would be waiting for me. He ended up being the one to finally diagnose my blood clotting disorder,” said De La Moriniere. “Had I not listened to her, I’m pretty sure I would not be here today.”

Not only did De La Moriniere have a blood clotting disorder, she had suffered a stroke and had been suffering from strokes for years. She had a “condition in which the two valve flaps of the mitral valve do not close smoothly or evenly, but instead prolapse or bulge upward into the left atrium.” On top of that, she had a congenital heart defect called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO).

PFO is a hole in the heart that is “in the wall between the left and right atria of every human fetus. This hole allows blood to bypass the fetal lungs,” per the American Stroke Association (ASA). For 75 percent of Americans, the hole closes on its own once the newborn takes its first breaths. But according to the ASA, for the remaining 35 percent the hole does not close, causing the PFO.

Through the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, research is currently being funded to properly diagnose and treat congenital heart defects at birth.

One early test that’s helped find congenital heart defects is a simple exam called pulse oximetry, which can “measure oxygen levels through a toe or finger monitor.”

“I was overjoyed to learn that they were making sure that every baby is now screened for PFO in the U.S. Until I began to link up with the AHA, I never realized how many younger women, like myself have strokes. I am so happy that there are others out there taking notice and advocating for us,” said De La Moriniere.

Over the past five years, the AHA and other groups have lobbied to pass measures in almost every state requiring the exam before babies leave the hospital.

The AHA and The Children’s Heart Foundation jointly committed to at least $22.5 million over the next two years to support innovative research projects on CHDs.

“How many of us have slipped through the cracks because we are not yet experiencing the benefits that AHA has provided?” said De La Moriniere. “I want to convey to women to take responsibility for their own lives and health. Your heart and brain matter! Do your research. Listen to yourself!”

De La Moriniere will be joining the Bay Area Go Red for Women Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 24 at the South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center to help educate more women on their risk factors for heart disease and stroke. To find out more or to buy tickets, visit

Heart attack and stroke survivors celebrated at Heart Association’s 20th Anniversary Gala

September 27th, 2016

Drs. George and Nikoletta Carayannopoulos and Dr. Matthew and Michelle Hay at Heart Gala.

Drs. George and Nikoletta Carayannopoulos and Dr. Matthew and Michelle Hay at Heart Gala.

GALVESTON – “I have Aphasia. Never give up. Never give up.” The words echoed throughout the ballroom at Moody Gardens Hotel & Convention Center Sept. 17 as 300 of Galveston Island’s finest celebrated the fight against heart disease and stroke with the American Heart Association and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Not a sound could be heard as Aaron May, a 36-year-old survivor, shared his story for the first time since suffering a stroke on June 18, 2014. May, who currently lives with Aphasia, a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate, has been working hard over the past two years to regain his speech and walk easily without a cane or wheelchair.

Currently, over $500,000 is being funded in active grants at UTMB Health to find new cures and treatments for heart disease and stroke patients.

The gala, chaired by Annette Macias-Hoag, associate vice president for UTMB Health, and associate chief nursing officer for UTMB Angleton, and co-chaired by Christine Wade, director of Patient Care Services and assistant chief nursing officer for the Emergency Room at UTMB, raised over $170,000 for lifesaving research.

The annual fundraising event also honored the past 20 years of its honorees, including Bob and Mary White, Jim and Suzanne Little, and Drs. Michael and Colleen Silva, among many more.

Sean O’Donohoe with Allstate Insurance served as auctioneer for the gala, helping the organization sell seven exciting items, including a trip to San Miguel De Allende, Mexico and the Island of Antigua.

Jonathan Martinez, an anchor with KPRC 2 News and a Galveston native, served as emcee. Bringing his mother as a date, Martinez talked highly of growing up on Galveston Island and what the American Heart Association means to him.

Sponsors in attendance were UTMB Health, John P. McGovern Foundation, Dr. Abe DeAnda, Annette Macias-Hoag and Daniel Hoag, BARD, Biotronik, Boston Scientific Corporation, Drs. George and Nikoletta Carayannopoulos, Dr. Leon Bromberg Charitable Trust Fund, Medtronic, Inc., AMOCO Federal Credit Union, CenterPoint Energy, Karen Flowers and Ted Shook & VJ Tramonte, Seal and Ross Grief, Dr. Robert and Jill Kaale, Navigant, Philips Healthcare, Dr. Selwyn Rogers, Jr., Drs. Colleen and Michael Silva, St. Jude Medical, Dr. Barbara Thompson, Christine and David Wade, Kempner Capital Management, Inc., Biosense Webster, Advantage Medical Resources, Steven and Shiloe Burzinski, Galveston College and Dr. Thomas D. Kimbrough.

Local companies help American Heart Association raise nearly $400,000

January 1st, 2016

(Left) Kaneka North America top Heart Walk sponsors. (Right) Memorial Hermann Southeast’s Rebecca Lilley served as Heart Walk Co-Chair.

(Left) Kaneka North America top Heart Walk sponsors. (Right) Memorial Hermann Southeast’s Rebecca Lilley served as Heart Walk Co-Chair.

Chilly winds, and an earlier start time, didn’t keep 2,000 participants from hitting the pavement at Kemah Boardwalk to participate in the non-competitive, three mile Bay Area Heart Walk on Saturday, Nov. 14, hosted by the American Heart Association.

The event, chaired by Steve Skarke of Kaneka North America and Rebecca Lilley of Memorial Hermann Southeast, was sponsored by three local companies: Hunt & Hunt, LTD., LyondellBasell, and Houston Methodist San Jacinto. A total of $385,145 was raised for the fight against cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Memorial Hermann Southeast came in as the top fundraising company, raising nearly $26,000 for the Heart Walk.  Kaneka North America came in second place, while CHI St. Luke’s raised nearly $20,000.  Indira Feustel came in as the Heart Walk’s top individual fundraiser with $20,007 raised.

Houston Methodist St. John, Merrill Lynch, DOW Chemical, Ascend Performance, Kindred Hospital Systems, CHI St. Luke’s Health, ISC Constructors, Lockheed Martin, Kroger, Nestle, and Acadian EMS were also Heart Walk sponsors and Bay Area Houston Magazine and Houston Community Newspapers Bay Area Citizen were the event’s media partners.

Bay Area Houston Magazine