Teaming up for a healthier community – Buffalo CycleNation and Hands-Only CPR demonstrations help fight stroke and heart disease

From stroke to heart disease, hundreds of people came together to help create a healthier community at the American Heart Association’s CycleNation event Sunday at ADPRO Sports Training Center.

CycleNation is a high energy, indoor stationary cycling event. Teams of four ride stationary bikes in relay format. Each team member rides for 30 minutes. Throughout the evening, riders met stroke survivors, local celebrities, and more. The event raised nearly $135,000 to help fund research, education and advocacy programs.

The ride featured about 80 riders who came together to pedal for a purpose. The CycleNation ride boosts mental and physical health while raising critical funds to benefit the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association – the leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health for all. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability in older age.

“CycleNation is more than a program – it’s an active movement empowering people across the country to get their bodies and brains in gear through cycling,” said CycleNation chairman Dr. Vijay Iyer, cardiologist and director of the Gates Vascular Institute/BGMC. “We are thankful for all the teams who came out to support the movement.”

During the program, stroke survivor Kelly Naab shared her story. She suffered a warning stroke while in the car with her two children. She went on to have another stroke and heart surgery.

Ten months after Damar Hamlin’s on-field cardiac arrest, as the Buffalo Bills returned to Cincinnati for the first time since that fateful game, fans back home in Buffalo joined a Nation of Lifesavers by learning Hands-Only CPR. More than 165 people took part in Hands-Only CPR trainings at ADPRO Sport Training Center, thanks to support from the Buffalo Bills.

“We are pleased to be working in collaboration with the American Heart Association to co-host this free Hands-Only CPR community event as part of our ongoing Bills HeartBEAT program,” said Gretchen Geitter, Buffalo Bills vice president of community relations.

This is the third HeartBEAT training event held as part of a five-year, $1 million commitment by the Buffalo Bills. The initiative, announced in April, will train thousands of Western New Yorkers in Hands-Only CPR over the next five years through community empowerment events, education campaigns and distribution of CPR resources to local youth sports teams and leagues. The goal is to increase the confidence and ability of members of the community to perform bystander CPR.

In addition to the Hands-Only CPR trainings, representatives from the Buffalo Bills and Wegmans named a total of 20 local organizations to receive CPR & First Aid in Youth Sports™ Training Kits. These training kits are designed for youth coaches to ensure they and their community know the lifesaving skills of CPR, how to use an AED, and how to help during sports related emergencies. Each kit can train approximately 300 people per year.

“Wegmans is dedicated to supporting the communities we serve,” said Michele Mehaffy, Wegmans public & community relations manager, Buffalo Division. “Through this collaboration with the American Heart Association, we are helping to ensure youth sports organizations are empowered to respond in case of a cardiac emergency.”

Organizations receiving kits include:

  • From the Buffalo Bills
    • Airlanes Cheektowaga – Empire West Youth Football League
    • Boys & Girls Club Flag Football Collaborative
    • Brocton – Lakeshore Youth Football
    • Buffalo Vets – Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association
    • KidsPlay of WNY
    • Lackawanna – OATKA
    • LA Sports Club
    • Niagara PAL
    • Salamanca Warriors – Cattaraugus County Football League
    • Youth Advantage Flag
  • From Wegmans
    • Boys on the Right Track
    • Buffalo PAL
    • Cazenovia Park Youth Hockey
    • Challenger Sports
    • Cheektowaga Soccer
    • Girls on the Run
    • Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club
    • Sabah
    • Seneca Babcock Community Center
    • Willie Hutch Jones Sports Program

Also new this year at CycleNation, attendees could learn about the Apple Heart & Movement Study. The study helps us understand the links between heart health and physical activity and is a collaboration with American Heart Association and Brigham and Women’s Hospital sponsored by Apple.

Buffalo CycleNation is sponsored by the Buffalo Bills, Apple, Kaleida Health, Boston Scientific, ECMC, Medtronic and more. Media sponsors are WGRZ and Buffalo Healthy Living. To learn more about this movement, visit