One million signatures needed to call upon World Health Organisation

Boehringer IngelheimThe 1 Mission 1 Million - Getting to the Heart of Stroke initiative is launching a petition to call upon the World Health Organisation, its member states and health authorities worldwide to recognise atrial fibrillation as a risk factor for stroke and set clinical management targets that could save one million mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and grandparents each year through better atrial fibrillation management, stroke prevention and education. The global initiative is calling for at least one million members of the public around the world to provide their support and sign the petition at www.heartofstroke.com.

"It is vital that AF is recognised as a risk factor for stroke so that people affected by the condition receive the necessary treatment." said Dr Kathryn Taubert, Chief Science Officer for the World Heart Federation (WHF). "As many as three million people worldwide have an AF-related stroke every year; this means one person every 10 seconds. Many of these strokes can be prevented so the WHF encourages everybody to join the mission and sign the petition to help save lives."

AF-related strokes are more severe and are associated with more disability than non-atrial fibrillation strokes.(1-3) However, many people are not fully aware of the increased risk of stroke associated with AF.(4)

Sharing inspiring stories
To support the petition, people who are affected by AF, care for someone with this diagnosis or work in the field are invited to share their AF stories via the 1 Mission 1 Million initiative website, whether personal or professional, to inspire and encourage others around the world.

Supporting ongoing work in atrial fibrillation
Finally, 1 Mission 1 Million will provide €100,000 in funding to projects which aim to help prevent AF-related stroke. Projects will have the opportunity to be published on www.heartofstroke.com, a unique fundraising platform, hosted in partnership with the global fundraising expert ammado. The public will be able to donate to their favourite projects, and the first projects to reach 75% of their fundraising target will receive the remaining 25% from the campaign sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim (up to a value of €2,500).

"This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone working in AF to rally the public to donate to their projects, with an extra incentive provided through additional funding", said Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the Atrial Fibrillation Association. "One in four people aged 40 years or older develop AF, making it the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormality worldwide.(5,6) Projects implemented through this initiative could have a huge impact on people affected by the condition, and Heart Rhythm Week is the perfect time to unite people in the fight against AF-related stroke."

Project submissions open today and fundraising will commence shortly thereafter, when 1 Mission 1 Million, supported by leading health experts and more than 40 patient and professional organisations, will encourage the public to donate to projects that help prevent AF-related stroke.

To submit a project, sign the petition or share a story, please visit www.heartofstroke.com.

About Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
AF is the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormality worldwide with one in four adults over the age of 40 developing AF in their lifetime.(5,6) AF causes the heart to beat irregularly and often too quickly or too slowly.(7) People with AF are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without AF and AF-related strokes tend to be more severe and disabling than non AF-related strokes.(1-3,8) Many AF-related strokes can be prevented with correct management but many patients are not aware of their risk and so take no action to prevent it.(4,9)

About1 Mission 1 Million
1 Mission 1 Million - Getting to the Heart of Stroke is a global disease awareness initiative, supported by leading health experts and more than 40 patient and professional organisations including AntiCoagulation Europe, the Arrhythmia Alliance, the Atrial Fibrillation Association, the Stroke Alliance for Europe and the World Heart Federation and is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

In 2011, two million public votes were received online for 184 1 Mission 1 Million project submissions entered by individuals, patient and professional groups and healthcare centres across 36 countries. Each submission proposed an approach to increase awareness of AF-related stroke within the community whether through research, screening programmes or the creation of patient groups. 1 Mission 1 Million awarded €1 million in funding to 32 winning projects spanning the globe from Malaysia to Canada across 18 different countries.

This year 1 Mission 1 Million is building on the success of 2011 to create an even bigger initiative, reaching more people worldwide. Three main activities will take place in 2012:

  • Projects: 1 Mission 1 Million is providing a fundraising platform, in partnership with ammado, to help projects raise their own funds through public donations. €100,000 is available to contribute towards the first projects that reach 75% of their fundraising target (up to a maximum value of €2,500 per project). Submissions are now open!
  • Petition: 1 Mission 1 Million is appealing to everybody who is passionate about AF to sign a petition, so we can call upon the World Health Organisation, its member states and health authorities worldwide to recognise atrial fibrillation as a risk factor for stroke and set clinical management targets that could save one million mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and grandparents each year through better atrial fibrillation management, stroke prevention and education.
  • Stories: 1 Mission 1 Million is encouraging people to submit their AF stories, whether these are personal or professional, to inspire others around the world. Please visit www.heartofstroke.com to get involved.

About ammado
Ammado is a well established fundraising platform for non-profit organisations and has been chosen for its global expertise and capabilities in this area. 1 Mission 1 Million are working with ammado to build and maintain an optimal fundraising platform for projects as part of this initiative.

About Heart Rhythm Week
From 21st-27th May 2012 Arrhythmia Alliance will be holding its annual Heart Rhythm Week which gives anyone the opportunity to raise awareness and promote better understanding of heart rhythm disorders. This year, the theme of patient empowerment, Your Heart in Your Hands, aims to encourage members of the public to recognise symptoms of heart rhythm disorders and advise when they should seek further advice from a healthcare professional.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 145 affiliates and more than 44,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim pledges to act socially responsible. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim's endeavors.

In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 13.2 billion euro. R&D expenditure in the business area Prescription Medicines corresponds to 23.5% of its net sales.

1. Lin HJ, Wolf PA, Kelly-Hayes M, et al. Stroke severity in atrial fibrillation: the Framingham study. Stroke 1996; 27:1760-4.
2. Kannel WB & Benjamin EF. Status of the epidemiology of atrial fibrillation. Med Clin North Am 2008;92:17-40.
3. Kelly-Hayes M, et al. The influence of gender and age on disability following ischemic stroke: The Framingham Study. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2003; 12:119-266.
4. SPEAK about AF Survey (2011) – ISBN 978-3-9814382-0-8.
5. Lloyd-Jones DM, Wang TJ, Leip EP, et al. Lifetime risk for development of atrial fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation 2004; 110:1042-6.
6. Stewart S, Murphy N, Walker A, et al. Cost of an emerging epidemic: an economic analysis of atrial fibrillation in the UK. Heart 2004; 90:286-92.
7. Goodacre S, et al. ABC of clinical electrocardiography. Atrial arrhythmias. Br Med J 2002; 324:594-7.
8. Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: the Framingham Study. Stroke 1991; 22(8);983-8.
9. Hart GR, et al. Meta-analysis: Antithrombotic therapy to prevent stroke in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Ann Intern Med 2007; 146:857-867.

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