GLENCOE, Okla., Sept. 8, 2023 — A third-grader at Morrison Elementary School has been selected by the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, to serve as a volunteer local Youth Heart Ambassador for the 2023-2024 school year. Macey Kittle will work closely with the American Heart Association’s in-school programs, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ to actively and passionately champion other children to establish healthy habits to better mental and physical well-being.
The American Heart Association accepted nominations from young people who have been affected by heart disease or stroke either through a personal diagnosis, diagnosis of a loved one, or has made a personal lifestyle change, to serve in the Youth Heart Ambassador role. Macey was born with a congenital heart defect, or CHD, that caused an audible murmur that was detected when she was 2 years old.
Macey had open-heart surgery to correct her CHD at age 7.
“I was scared at first, but the doctors and nurses made me feel at ease,” said Macey. “They had a therapy dog come visit me, and I had my own personal life coach to make me feel better and answer my questions.”
The surgery allowed her to get back to all of the activities she loves – riding her horse, running with her mom and playing softball and basketball. Macey also works hard on her family’s teaching ranch. She gets a lot of support from her family of 5, which includes a younger brother and baby brother.
“The experience has made my family and friends much more aware of heart health and its importance,” Macey said. She ran a 5K race with her mom just 12 weeks after her surgery and recently had a successful one-year post-operation checkup.
Macey has also been top fundraiser during Kids Heart Challenge at her school.
The Youth Heart Ambassadors serve a one-year commitment as a volunteer of the American Heart Association assisting the organization to be a relentless force for healthier lives for all. The position gives youth a voice to encourage, advocate and underscore the need for to raise critical funding as they share the impact cardiovascular disease has had on their life.
“It’s exciting to have Macey share her voice and experience to help others live heart healthy,” said Brandy Miller, senior youth market director for the American Heart Association-Tulsa. “Macey has an incredible story to share, and we are excited to see the impact she will make in our local schools and in schools across the country.”
Rooted in physical activity, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ are service-learning programs that teach students how to improve their overall health while doing good for the health of others. Through interactive curriculums and various online challenges, participating students get active and have fun while raising funds and awareness for congenital heart defects, nutrition security, CPR training, mental well-being and more. These collective efforts help further the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
Schools interested in participating in either Kids Heart Challenge™ or American Heart Challenge™ receive expanded curriculum resources for both classrooms and in-home learning environments can register now for next school year. To learn more about our school programs please visit www.www.heart.org/getstarted. More information can be found online, heart.org/youthambassadors.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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