‘Family is Why’ One Member Joins the Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association

This past year has been one of many changes. After 25 years with ComDoc, a Xerox Company, I retired in January.

Today, I am very proud and excited to start the next chapter of my career as Board Chair of The Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association (AHA).

My transition and transformation has been profound. For the majority of my life, I was morbidly obese and weighed north of 300 pounds. On September 24, 2013, I was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. During the previous three month time period, I experienced tremendous stress. I was going through a divorce, moving out of a home I lived in for 22- years and had been managing a $22 million dollar business.

My diagnosis was rapid tachycardia fibrillation with secondary cardiomyopathy. I had significant Coronary artery disease and a clot in my heart.

Through the grace of God, and the tremendous care I received at Millard Suburban and Gates Vascular, and the research and practices that were American Heart Association based, I was able to make a complete and healthy recovery.

As the Board Chair of the Buffalo/Niagara American Heart Association, my purpose is personal. However, I have the unique opportunity to help others, share my story, and support the AHA mission. Their mission and work is vital to the community because it touches and reaches everyone.

What is the American Heart Association doing in our community? I can tell you first-hand. Twenty-five local Fit Friendly companies with 24,788 employees in Western New York are making wellness their priority; 121 schools participate in Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart; 20,000 students and people have learned Hands-only CPR in Western New York; 23 awards have been given to hospitals in the Buffalo/Niagara Region for achieving the high standards of patient care through Get With The Guidelines®, and money raised at the Heart Walk, for example, is used to fund lifesaving research and local advocacy, education and training programs.

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart diseases and stroke. I know our board, committees, and volunteers will do their part, along with staff, to help reach their 2020 impact goal by contributing to the overall AHA mission of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

For more information about AHA community programs, upcoming events, educational information or how to donate, visit www.heart.org/buffalo.

We hope to see you at the 21st Annual Buffalo Niagara Heart & Stroke Walk, September 12th at Canalside. To register visit www.BuffaloNiagaraHeartWalk.org.

FAMILY is why’ I support the Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association. What’s your …..why?

Larry Cohen

Board Chair 2015-2016

American Heart Association of Western New York

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