When I recently read this article about raising money and awareness for Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Ontario hockey arenas, I knew I had to share it with you. The Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Hockey For Heart is a series of tournaments that take place across Ontario.
Rob Weir lost his father, Roger Weir, in 1993 when he had a heart attack on the ice.
“I was sitting on the bench, looked down at the other end of the ice where the play was, looked back at my dad and saw that he had fallen over and instantly knew that something wasn’t right because I knew it wasn’t from something that had happened during the play,” Weir recalls of that tragic night.
Two years after Rob’s loss, he had the idea to organize a hockey tournament in memory of his father. The tournament’s goal was to raise money to place defibrillators in communities across Ontario. In 2006, the Heart & Stroke Foundation hired Weir to expand his tournament model to more cities in Ontario. To date, the Hockey For Heart program has raised $1.75 million towards the placement of AEDs across communities in Ontario and they plan to surpass the $2 million mark this year. Many hockey celebrities are now also involved in the tournaments.
I am a HUGE advocate for having access to AEDs in our communities. I literally hear about the lifesaving capabilities of AEDs every single day through articles and nightly news broadcasts all over the world. The message is always the same: defibrillation is the only remedy for cardiac arrest. And while knowing CPR is obviously important, having access to AEDs increases survival rates more than 10 fold. The survival rate jumps from about 7% for adults in Canada with CPR-only rescue to 90% (no this is NOT a typo!) if an AED is attached to the victim within one minute of collapse. For every minute there after, the survival rate decreases by approximately 7-10%. So even after 5 minutes, the survival rate is still be as high as 55% (versus 7%!). I like those odds.
I sincerely applaud all of the work that Weir and his team at Hockey For Heart are doing for a great cause. His commitment and passion for raising funds and awareness for AEDs is honourable.
I wish all of the teams competing in this year’s Hockey For Heart the best of luck!
Please donate generously at: http://www.hockeyforheart.com