CHARLESTON, W.Va. — People will gain more insight into how to spot a stroke during a two-month-long campaign.

The American Heart Association has partnered with the Charleston-based ride-sharing service, Link Transportation for the launch of the “Ride with Heart” program. It will help educate the community about the signs and symptoms of a stroke, how to perform hands-only CPR, as well as the importance of keeping blood pressure in check to improve health outcomes.

American Heart Marketing Communications Coordinator Kevin Pauley said they wanted to do something special in celebration of 100 years of bringing health awareness to the community.

“This is the centennial year for the American Heart Association, so we are always trying to find new community partners and new ways to think outside of the box as far as how we can get messaging to more people,” Pauley said.

Pauley said the American Heart Community Impact Director Holly Mitchell got inspired to pair up their organization with Link after seeing how the service gets people to non-emergency medical appointments on a daily basis, and felt that it would be a really good way to reach important health information to those on their way to those appointments, or to wherever they are going.

Through the new partnership, riders with Link will now get to see information about stroke prevention and awareness by scanning a QR code on the back of their head rests.

Pauley said they feel it’s a beneficial way to expand such information during two major health promotional months for the American Heart Association.

“Being able to have that, you know, we got them as a captive audience, this just gives them a chance to learn a little bit,” he said. “May is America’s Stroke Month so they’re going to learn about the signs of a stroke using the acronym FAST, and then in June for CPR Awareness Week they’re going to have the ability to learn how to do hands-only CPR while sitting in the back of a car.”

Link Transportation CEO Jeb Corey said the head rest covers containing this information will be in all 30 of their vehicles they operate throughout the Kanawha Valley area, and that they typically transport about 2,000 people a week, so the campaign will reach a wide audience.

He said he’s hopeful it will leave a lasting impact.

“We just want people to learn about their health and things they can do to be healthier, you know, heart disease is obviously one of the big killers in the United States, so if we can do anything to further educate people that’s the number one thing,” said Corey.

Pauley said strokes are in fact number 5 of the top killers in the U.S. and they continue to be a leading cause of disability.

He said having the awareness about strokes is key to saving a life.

“We want people to be aware, we want them to know the signs and symptoms, because odds are, if you come across someone who’s having a stroke it’s most likely going to be someone you know and you would definitely want to know what to do for that person, whether it’s a loved one, a co-worker, someone you go to church with, whoever that is, we want you to be prepared, know those signs and symptoms, and know how to help out,” Pauley said.

Pauley said they want to make sure everyone is aware of the acronym FAST– F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for slurred speech, and T for time to call 911. He said time is of the essence when having a stroke as every minute lost is brain functioning also being lost, so how quick one responds is crucial.

Along with the campaign, Link and American Heart will host two events in May and June.

On May 29 they will host a cardiovascular health clinic with medical services provided by West Virginia Health Right. Patients will be able to receive blood pressure and glucose screenings along with follow-up care information.

The clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Link Transportation’s North Charleston facility located at 312 21st Street West. Corey encourages everyone to take advantage of it.

“We want as many people to come here on that day because there’s no cost in doing that, it’s a great way to learn about your body, learn about your health, and maybe pick up some information that will help you down the line,” Corey said.

Attendees of the clinic will also be able to receive hepatitis C screenings as well as rapid HIV tests.

Then, on June 5 they will come together again to host a Hands-Only CPR training clinic.

For transportation to the clinics, you can contact Link on their website.