A member of the Eastern Fairfield Cooperative Parish


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Just over 6 years ago, on March 8, 2010, our then 11-year-old daughter, Michelle, collapsed during her 5th grade gym class at Chalk Hill Middle School. She experienced Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) … her heart had stopped.

Michelle was just one of more that 325,000 SCA victims per year in the US alone, many of whom are youth (it is estimated that 16 people under the age of 18 experience SCA every day). SCA is one of the leading causes of death each year, exceeding the number of deaths from Alzheimers, firearm assaults, breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancers, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents and suicides combined.

The survival rate for out-of-hospital SCA patients is less than 10%, primarily because the survival rate drops by 10% for every minute that passes without action. The Cardiac Chain of Survival defines the following critical steps, the first 3 of which are often performed by lay rescuers or bystanders who must take action while waiting for EMS to arrive:

Highlights Fig 4 IHCA-OHCA Chain of Survival

  • Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
  • Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Basic and advanced emergency medical services
  • Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

Statistics show that bystander action can more than double the rate of survival for SCA victims, but we must have the training and the tools to be able to respond quickly. Fortunately, Michelle’s SCA occurred in gym class where her gym teacher immediately recognized her condition and activated the chain of survival. He called 911 and the school nurse and art teacher, they began CPR and utilized an AED located within 5 feet of her collapse in the school gym. Without the quick actions of 3 dedicated school “heroes” as well as the available AED, Michelle would not likely have beaten the SCA odds. Today, Michelle is healthy and active and has her own internal defibrillator so her heart can likely recover on its own if/when she has another SCA incident. Michelle was fortunate … she was one of the 10% who survived.

We’ve learned the value of the chain of survival and the need for proper readiness training and equipment to help save the next potential SCA victim.  Along with the Monroe Rotary Club, we want every church in Monroe to have an AED, as well as educated lay people, who will be ready to save more lives. Together, we can continue to expand Monroe as a Heart-Safe Community. Please support these efforts and be part of the survival chain … your support can save lives. We encourage you to make your donation in honor or memory of someone in your life that may be impacted by the cardiac chain of survival. Thanks!

Our donation will be in honor of Michelle and her “Heroes” (photo from March 2010): Barbara Monaco (school nurse), Rob Troesser (gym teacher), Michelle, Alice Pullium (art teacher).

*We will keep this available until April 30th unless we reach our goal sooner.

CH Heroes