Boston Pizza Foundation contributes $1 million to strengthen Heart and Stroke Foundation's National Automated External Defibrillator Program



    Contribution will place and provide training for 200 AEDs across Canada

    EDMONTON, May 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF)
today announced a $1 million contribution by the Boston Pizza Foundation to
its national Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, Restart a Life(TM) Automated
External Defibrillator (AED) program. The contribution will support the
allocation, training and installation of 200 AEDs in public places across the
country over the next five years.
    "This generous contribution by the Boston Pizza Foundation will make
defibrillators easily accessible to Canadians and increase the potential to
save thousands of lives," says Diana Krecsy, CEO of the Heart and Stroke
Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut.
    Defibrillators will be placed in public places across the country
including community centers, sports arenas, shopping malls, etc. Criteria for
determining community areas most in need include emergency response times, the
potential of higher incidence of sudden cardiac arrests in large public
spaces, and local readiness to support a public access defibrillator program.
    "Giving back to the community in which we live and work is integral to
the Boston Pizza Foundation and, as proud supporters of the Heart and Stroke
Foundation, we see the public AED program as the perfect fit," says Cheryl
Treliving, executive director of the Boston Pizza Foundation. "I'm pleased to
announce the Boston Pizza Foundation will support the Heart and Stroke
Foundation's goal of helping save more lives by increasing access to AEDs in
communities throughout Canada."
    Hockey great, Jiri Fischer spoke about the efforts which saved his life
when he underwent sudden cardiac death on the Detroit Red Wings bench during a
game against Nashville on November 21, 2005. "Personnel knowledgeable in the
use of CPR and AEDs saved my life. That's why it is so important to train CPR
and to place more AEDs in public places. It will help save more lives and
create cardiac-safe communities everywhere," says Fischer.
    As Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson, Fischer is helping to raise
awareness of the importance of CPR and use of AEDs by sharing his personal
story.
    AEDs make it possible for non-medical personnel to restore heart rhythm
and life. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the
rescuer what steps to take and delivers an electric shock to the heart. AEDs
are safe and effective at restarting the heart and restoring life in most
cases.
    The Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, Restart a Life(TM) program is committed
to increasing the number of AEDs in communities across Canada. The program
focuses on increasing public awareness of the role of AEDs, and encourages
citizens to make a difference by learning CPR so they are able to respond to a
sudden cardiac arrest emergency. The Heart and Stroke Foundations' CPR Anytime
For Family and Friends (TM) kits help people learn CPR and lifesaving skills
in only 22 minutes. Across Canada, 15 lives have been saved as a direct result
of the Heart and Stroke Foundation's regional initiatives in placing AEDs.
    The Boston Pizza Foundation presented a $1 million cheque to the Heart
and Stroke Foundation at a ceremony at the West Edmonton Mall today. An AED
provided by the Heart&Stroke ReStart a Heart, Restart a Life(TM) program will
be installed at the mall, which has been designated by the Edmonton Emergency
Medical Service (EMS) as an area in need of AEDs.
    Today's announcement underscores the Heart and Stroke Foundation's
commitment to resuscitation. Providing better access to AEDs is an essential
component of the Chain of Survival(TM) which includes early access to the EMS
system through 9-1-1 or local emergency numbers, early CPR, early
defibrillation, and early advanced care. The chain is only as strong as its
weakest link.

    Automated External Defibrillators save lives.

    In Canada, up to 45,000 cardiac arrests occur each year. The odds of
survival for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are approximately five per
cent. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by seven
to 10 per cent, according to the Foundation. Defibrillation combined with CPR
can improve cardiac arrest survival rates by 50 per cent or more if delivered
in the first few minutes.
    "When my heart had suddenly stopped beating during a routine basketball
game - the immediate response from those around me was anything but routine,"
said 17-year-old Curtis Rosenau, who collapsed while practicing with his
basketball team three years ago as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition.
"I am living proof that AEDs save lives - and having immediate access to one
saved mine."

    About The Heart and Stroke Foundation

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads
in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the
advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living,
and advocacy.

    About The Boston Pizza Foundation

    The Boston Pizza Foundation raises funds for many charities across
Canada, including Kids Help Phone, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and
the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Since its inception in 1990, the
Boston Pizza Foundation has raised more than $9 million through various
fundraising initiatives helping thousands of children and families across
Canada.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: Natalie St-Denis, Heart and Stroke Foundation
Alberta, NWT & Nunavut, (403) 781-1975, nstdenis@hsf.ab.ca; Laurie Weir,
Trillium Corporate Communications Inc., (416) 277-2453, (416) 322-3030 ext.
239, laurie@trilliumpr.com


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