Ohio teen and Florida veteran reach prestigious milestone with the American Heart Association

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Two dedicated volunteers have reached a prestigious milestone with the American Heart Association, the world's leading nonprofit organization devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, for their personal passion and commitment to advance women's heart health.

For the third year, changemakers across the country were nominated to join the American Heart Association's Woman of Impact and Teen of Impact® campaigns. Aligning with the Go Red for Women® movement, the Association's signature women's initiative, the Woman of Impact campaign places a special emphasis on advancing the well-being of all women, while the Teen of Impact program centers around relevant issues that affect teen heart health today, such as healthy eating and the vaping epidemic.

"We are so appreciative for the dedicated volunteers whose work has allowed the organization to have a powerful impact on heart health - both through the Woman of Impact and Teen of Impact programs, as well as by championing for better health education and awareness across the nation," said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. "If everyone unites to bring about change, further lifesaving advancements are possible."

This year, two individuals were named as the first-ever Woman of Impact and Teen of Impact National Winners for earning the most points through the community education, advocacy and fundraising activities they led during the initiative. These titles are a testament to these volunteers' commitment and dedication to improving women's and teen heart health in their communities.

The 2023 National Winners are:

Woman of Impact - Iliana Rentz - Palm Beach, Florida

Iliana Rentz joined the Woman of Impact program through her company, NextEra Energy. Tragically, her firstborn daughter, Victoria, passed away from a heart attack shortly after she was born due to an undiagnosed heart defect.

"With early diagnosis, had we known when she was in the womb, we could have done a medical intervention at the time, and Victoria could have lived a long and healthy life," Rentz says.

A military veteran herself, Rentz has always been dedicated to helping and serving others. "Service is very important to myself and my family, and giving back is, quite frankly, the center of who we are."

In addition to Rentz, three Woman of Impact nominees joined the Woman of Impact Centennial Club, recognizing other exceptional nominees from around the country. They are:

Cristina Civetta – New York, NY

Jenny Collopy – Cincinnati, OH

Christine Machado – Orange County, CA

Teen of Impact - Paige Levine – Cincinnati, OH

Paige Levine and her family are no strangers to the tragedies of heart disease. Her grandmother suffered two heart attacks and eventually passed away the day after Levine's seventh birthday. One of her grandfathers was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and died suddenly one day while golfing. Her other grandfather underwent a quadruple bypass before Levine was born.

"We want to help other families, so they do not have to go through what ours has gone through," says Levine. "We want to raise money to help fund research and programs to allow for better heart health."

Calling Teen of Impact, the "opportunity of a lifetime," Levine assembled an impressive Impact Team of 33 individuals who contributed to Levine's fundraising and awareness goals. Through her guidance and example, that team helped the 16-year-old sophomore raise lifesaving funds and work to transform the heart health and well-being of Cincinnati and beyond.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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