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Survivor & Professional Speaker on Heart Health Advocacy

Archive for 'News & Announcements'

It was very exciting to be featured in a CPR and Kids segment on CNN during Heart Month!  This interview let me share the importance of CPR, my personal experience with a heart condition, and what is important in becoming certified.

(Check my piece out at approximately 2:00)


I’m Back!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been letting everyone know about what I’ve been up to, but the last two years have been so busy and amazing!

I have given an Art Therapy workshop, spoken at a “Personal Success Begins at Home” Conference in Texas, received an Parent Recognition Award in my city, spoken at a huge ICD support group, and so much more! But most importantly, I gave birth to my amazing son, Andreas Hetzler, on June 12, 2012. I look forward to so much more to come!

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It was so exciting to see so many people at the 2nd annual Fall River Children’s Healthy Heart Festival!  We had great entertainment, tons of activities, top of the line prizes, healthy snacks, tremendous local organizations, and more!!  It was great to donate an AED to Camp Welch of the Boys and Girls Club as well.  Thank you all so much for helping to support this event and Fall River’s heart health!

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It’s back!  The 2011 Fall River Children’s Healthy Heart Festival is around the corner!

On Saturday, February 12, 2011 the 2nd annual 2011 Fall River Children’s Healthy Heart Festival will be held at CD Recreation on 72 Bank Street, Fall River from 11am – 2pm.  The main focus of this free-admission festival will be educating children and their families about holistic and healthy options for life. The last festival gathered over 400 members of the community and donated 2 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to local youth-serving organizations, and we look forward to an even bigger event this year!!

There will be a health fair featuring different heart-related and health-related groups, both nationally and locally.  If you know anyone who is interested in having a table at our event, please do not hesitate to contact me. We are still looking for volunteers, $50 Heart of Silver Sponsors & $100 Heart of Gold Sponsors to be recognized at the event, and most importantly…everyone to come!!

Other plans for the day are in the works, but it promises to have fun activities for the kids (and adults!), offer fantastic prizes (including a Wii & iPods!) and healthy food, and overall provide a great educational community experience. I hope you are interested in being there to support our community’s health!

This event is in partnership with the Fall River Fitness Challenge and The Healthy Heart Foundation, Inc.

For more information, please contact me at michaelagagne@comcast.net or 508-567-4944!



Check out Peaceful Coalition’s new website!  I’m proud to help oversee this group as an advisor to the Boys and Girls Groups, as well as the Community Coordinator.  Our youth are doing amazing work, and I’m so excited for the many activities ahead! 



The Healthy Heart Foundation, Inc. has been newly formed!  It’s really exciting to have organized this non-profit organization whose initial goal will be to place AEDs in all of the Fall River Schools, along with providing proper CPR/AED training…and from there, the sky is the limit!!  It’s been an interesting process to create the organization, begin forming its Board of Directors, and start to create a mission statement that not only reflects the non-profit’s goals, but really my own personal life goals for heart health.  Thank you to those who have supported me so much in making this happen!



I am proud to have been selected as an official member of FRYSA’s Board of Directors!


The Fall River Children’s Healthy Heart Festival at the Boys and Girls Club on July 25th could not have turned out any better!  Hundreds of kids and their parents enjoyed the day’s events, from dance classes, to face painting, to arts and crafts with the Fall River Children’s Museum, to fun physical challenges.  Families were able to benefit from 14 different local and national health-related organizations that shared their resources with the community, and healthy snacks were on hand for all.  Miss Massachusetts 2009, Amanda Kelly; Miss Bristol County 2009, Brett Bimmler; and Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen, Brianna Bostick attended the event, along with various local and state politicians.  We gave away a Wii, iPods, trampoline, scooters, and tons of sports equipment to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, and the adults had their own raffle supported mainly by gift certificates from great local businesses. In addition, we were able to donate Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to both the Boys and Girls Club and St. Vincent’s Home.


The focus of the event was the CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) Quilt Awareness Project.  50+ quilts were displayed for all to see and reflect on the children for whom this project was created.  All the squares on the quilts have been made in memory or support of a child with a heart defect, and tremendous awareness was able to be raised at the event regarding CHD and its impact.


I can’t say thank you enough to all our volunteers and supporters in helping to make this day incredible!!


Please support our sponsors: Click into the Picture,  and Click in Again When the Next Page Appears



Check out the articles below!

Fall River Spirit: A Show of Heart – Awareness Raised on a Local Level through National CHD Quilt Project

Fall River Spirit: National Quilt Project to Be Focus of Children’s Healthy Heart Festival This Saturday

Fall River Herald News: Gagne Still Advocating for Heart Health

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Miss Fall River 2009, Amanda Kelly, took the title of Miss Massachusetts 2009 on July 11th.  She will be traveling this upcoming January to compete in the Miss America 2010 Pageant.  The Miss Fall River Committee and I are so proud of Amanda for all of her hard work and well-deserved win!  We are also so thrilled for our Miss Bristol County 2009, Brett Bimmler, for her Top 10 finish at the pageant, as well as her Preliminary Talent Award.

To read more: Click In!


As a member of the Miss Fall River Scholarship Committee, I am proud to announce the Miss Fall River/Miss Bristol County 2009 pageant was a tremendous event.  I was honored to emcee the competition which featured 9 outstanding young women from Massachusetts, all competing for the chance at these two titles.

Our winners are Amanda Kelly, Miss Fall River 2009 and Amanda Liverzani, Miss Bristol County 2009.  They will go on to compete in the Miss Massachusetts 2009 pageant, a preliminary to the Miss America pageant, this upcoming July.

For more information, please visit www.missfallriver.org.


Here are the photos from the Miss Massachusetts USA pageant that took place in November 2008.   

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The pageant was a wonderful experience this past weekend!  I was given the honor of the swimsuit award, the woman who was chosen as having the overall top swimsuit body physique!  I also made it to the semi-final round when the top 12 contestants were announced.  Alison Cronin was crowned Miss Massachusetts USA 2009…she is a beautiful and sweet young woman, and I wish her the best of luck in the upcoming year!  Pictures coming soon…

Results: click in

My wonderful family, friends, and supporters:
I apparently have not gotten rid of the pageant bug : )
I have decided to compete for the title of Miss Massachusetts USA 2009.  Moving forward in making this decision comes from knowing the megaphone that the crown creates and the power it has to change lives.  Since my reign as Miss Massachusetts 2006 in the Miss America Program, I have been able to travel the country to educate about heart disease and heart health advocacy.  My work has included everything from being a bunk counselor at Camp Meridian, a camp for children with congenital heart defects, to speaking numerous times on Capitol Hill, to creating amazing friendships with many parents who have lost children to various heart conditions.  I have shared my personal story, shared my ideas, and shared many tears.
One of my best and most memorable Miss Massachusetts experience wasn’t walking across the Miss America stage.  It wasn’t having the TV camera in my face, filming a reality show, or the red carpet appearances.  My greatest experience was an email.  Yup, an email.  A lady had read a story written about me in USA Today, and she told me that she had a life-threatening heart condition as well.  She was told she needed an Implantable Cardi overter Defibrillator like my own, but she had not yet found the courage to go through with the surgery.  After reading my story, she decided that if Miss Massachusetts could do it, then she could too, and she made her surgery date.  She ended the email with, “Michaela, thank you for saving my life.”
It doesn’t get any better than that.
So I hope to move forward into another year of advocacy and being a role model with a new title.  I will be having a dinner and dessert fundraiser on Saturday, November 8th at 6:30-8:30pm to help defray the cost of the pageant’s entrance fee.  It will take place at Billy’s Cafe on 663 Bedford Street in Fall River, MA, and tickets are $10.  The meal will include shepherd’s pie and a pasta/spinach/ground sausage dish (my sister is cooking…she is amazing!).    
For those of you who are far away or unavailable to come, please send your positive energy and thoughts on November 22nd and 23rd when I take the stage to compete for the title of Miss Massachusetts USA.  My winning this title would qualify me for the Miss USA title (oh my gosh, and then Miss Universe!).  Okay, deep breath…one thing at a time…
Thank you all for the love and support you have given me!
All my heart,