Community Spotlight: NYCM Employees Advocate for Heart Health with the American Heart Association - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Feb 8, 2021

Community Spotlight: NYCM Employees Advocate for Heart Health with the American Heart Association

For nearly 30 years, NYCM Insurance has been a proud supporter of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, an event hosted by the American Heart Association. Traditionally a family event that takes place in Utica, NY, NYCM employees come together to walk in solidarity against heart disease and stroke. 
Continue reading to learn more about the American Heart Association and the ‘why’ behind some of Team NYCM’s most passionate participants. 

Joining Together and Raising Funds

The American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke in an effort to save and improve lives for nearly 100 years. The American Heart Association was founded in 1924 and since then has grown into our nation's largest organization dedicated to heart health. NYCM teams up with the AHA’s Mohawk Valley Chapter to participate in America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk each year.
Jeremy Robinson, Senior Vice President of Customer Relations Management at NYCM Insurance, is also a board member of the American Heart Association’s Mohawk Valley Chapter. Jeremy explained the close ties NYCM has with the AHA: “The American Heart Association is in direct alignment with who NYCM is as an organization.  We support them because we care about the future and want to provide hope for our friends, families, and co-workers. We also know that without the work of the AHA, the many advancements in treatment and prevention would not be possible. I am personally grateful every day for their relentless force against heart disease and stroke.”
NYCM’s Heart Month initiatives kick off in February with Wear Red Day, where employees wear red on the first Friday in February to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke. Annual apparel is created by our Brand Management team and sold across our employee base as a way to raise funds.
Fundraising is also done amongst our employees in various creative ways, such as basket raffles hosted within departments, support from friends and family, virtual fundraising and simply donating their own time. If one thing is for sure, it's that NYCM employees are some of the most generous and giving there are. 

Albert Pylinski, former Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary at NYCM Insurance has personally been affected by heart disease. Albert also serves as a member of the American Heart Association and had this to share when asked about the relationship between NYCM Insurance and the AHA: “As a retiree who worked 45 years for NYCM, it warms my heart that the company was so dedicated to supporting the American Heart Association for the last 30 years of my involvement!” As a five-time survivor of heart disease, Albert mentions that he has noticed the advancements in surgical and medical procedures. “The AHA could not have made such advancements if it were not for such caring and concerned organizations like NYCM and its generous employees!"
In years past, Team NYCM has joined forces at Heart Walks across the region, including the Oneonta, NY Indoor Walk and the main event in Utica. While this year may look much different, we know NYCM will walk in solidarity, whether the event is held live or virtually.

Employees Walking Together for a Personal Cause

NYCM employees have strong ties to the American Heart Association for many reasons, both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, many have personally experienced the effects of heart disease and stroke within their lives. Continue reading on for inspiring stories shared by a few of our passionate employees behind their support and willingness to advocate for the American Heart Association.
“I've been involved with the American Heart Association for approximately 18 years and am always amazed at just how much this city raises each year for the cause,” said Kathleen Crossett of our Distribution Team.  
Kathleen’s husband Gordon, although he is currently doing well, does suffer from heart disease. She continued, “It’s important to know that prior to these heart complications, my husband was never one to visit a doctor and was previously thought to be very  healthy.”  Last year, during a routine checkup their doctor noticed that Gordon’s heartbeat was irregular which eventually brought them to the emergency room. After a long day of testing, they were able to return home so long as he was taking the medication prescribed. However, this year in July, Kathleen woke up to her husband letting her know that he had been struggling to breath throughout the night.  After a trip to the hospital and several tests, they were told that Gordon’s heart had gone into Afib (Atrial Fibrillation) due to a blood clot and that they would need to shock him to restore his normal heartbeat. 
Although he spent several days in the hospital, Gordon is now doing great, as his cardiologist and medical team offered such amazing care. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have volunteered with the American Heart Association who raised money to make these types of procedures and medications possible.” 
“It is shocking when you realize just how many people out there are dealing with heart disease,'' says Carole Bartletta of our Underwriting Department. “Years ago, our doctors would not have had the knowledge, the treatment, or the medication to provide or perform the surgeries we have today. Millions of people have gone on to live longer, and healthier lives, because of the research that is funded, in mass, by the American Heart Association”.  Carole has had many family members and friends affected by heart disease and has been a volunteer at the Heart Run and Walk for nearly 20 years! Carole typically volunteers to work as a member of the registration committee and enjoys seeing the children who have become  heart survivors return each year, eager to help and make their own donations. “It is always very touching to see how they’ve grown. Some even attend school, playing sports, and living life to the fullest.”
When asked what the American Heart Association meant to her, Colleen Laymon of our Technical Team shares, “It means hope. Hope of finding new, less dangerous, and less invasive procedures for those fighting against heart ailments.” Both Colleen and her late father struggled with heart issues in the past. Colleen suffered a heart attack while she was at work in 2019. After realizing that she did not feel well and was having trouble catching her breath, she remembers thinking that she really needed to quit smoking. Although Colleen thought that she needed to return home  and rest, her co-workers quickly noticed and contacted one of our onsite medics, as well as an ambulance. First, feeling embarrassed and fearful, Colleen remembers being comforted by the paramedic when the sounds of sirens started to fill the air. “I was completely shocked to find out later that I had actually had a heart attack and would need stents to correct the issue.  Thank goodness for everyone who called for help and got me checked out that day,” Colleen adds. 
Colleen is happy to announce that she no longer smokes and encourages anyone that does, to quit as soon as possible.  While it was the hardest thing I have had to do, it was the best thing I have done for myself.”

When discussing the American Heart Association with Paige Ingham of our People Development Team, she shares that she has lost both her father and stepfather to heart attacks. Each year, Paige walks for her family and for those who have suffered with a heart condition. Last year, she was able to volunteer for the first time in Utica, alongside Beth Meade of our Brand Management Team. Beth, who went through the very difficult time of  losing both her mother and father to heart complications, is also heavily involved with supporting the Heart Association and participates in the Heart Run and Walk each year.
Team NYCM will gather to support the American Heart Association this year in hopes to raise awareness and funds for those who battle against heart disease and stroke. To learn more about the American Heart Association click here, and to join Team NYCM for Heart Walk Day on May 15, 2021, click the button below.