Heart-felt gift suggestion

Does your child’s or grandchild’s school need an AED?

It’s boxy. Yellow and blue. Weighs five pounds. (Why would I give a gift that homely?)

It costs more than $1,000. (Why would I spend that much?)

It might be months before the recipient even opens it up to use it. (Does this woman know what she’s talking about?)

As a matter of fact, I do know what I’m talking about. The bulky, yellow-and-blue item is an automated external defibrillator — a device that really changes lives. Because it saves them.

My client, Joe Hage, the director of marketing communications for Cardiac Science, just sent out an email offering special pricing on Powerheart G3 automated external defibrillators for schools. As of Friday afternoon, he has 19 units left.

Here’s why he’s doing it:

Each year, 7,000 children in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest. The deaths often occur in gym class or on the sports field, where undiagnosed heart conditions first kick in. Sudden cardiac arrest is just what it sounds like: the heart stops beating and the victim collapses. At that point, there’s a rapidly shrinking, 10-minute window in which to get the heart to start beating again before the story ends in serious brain damage or death.

The work Joe does, and the work I do for him, often puts us in the position of interviewing parents who have sent a perfectly healthy child off to school, or to basketball practice, and never seen that child alive again. Everyone involved is distraught — even more so when it turns out that no AED was available.

AEDs don’t guarantee survival, but they sure change the odds. Consider this: The sudden cardiac arrest survival rate in the U.S. is about 5 percent. But a study published in the August 11 issue of Circulation found that in U.S. high schools with AEDs on site, the cardiac arrest survival rate (for adults and children) rises to more than 60 percent.

Joe’s the parent of two little boys. The numbers, and the stories, haunt him.

Joe and I have also had the opportunity to interview parents, teachers, coaches, and school administrators who just can’t stop talking about how amazing it was to save a life using an AED. And we’ve talked with kids like Kaitlin Forbes. She collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest while playing softball and was revived with her school’s AED.

Joe, who donated an AED to his own sons’ school, is offering the remaining 19 Powerheart G3 AEDs for schools at $1,495 each. With every purchase, he’s including a set of pediatric pads ($99) and a wall unit ($189) to keep the AED prominently displayed and easy to access.

Does your child’s or grandchild’s school need an AED? You can reach Joe here.

Author: Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"

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