Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Joins Ontario Government to Announce 10 Million Dollar Investment in Defibrillators

LONDON, ON, June 3, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario joined Premier Dalton McGuinty in announcing the government's commitment of 10 million dollars to place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in public access settings across Ontario.

"Thanks to the leadership and support of the McGuinty Government, we have come a long way in protecting the heart health of Ontarians," says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Today's announcement brings us one step closer to our dream of seeing life-saving AEDs become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in Ontario."

The new 10 million dollar government investment will go towards placing AEDs in public access settings such as hockey arenas, recreation centres and high activity schools. A portion of the funding will also be set aside to develop Ontario's first ever AED registry. The Registry will track all of the public access units currently placed and will link directly into the EMS system.

"This is the fulfillment of a dream of a young boy named Chase McEachern. Before Chase passed away at the young age of 11, he told his father that his dream was to see AEDs in every single hockey arena and school in Ontario. Today, we are proud to say that we have helped to make that dream a reality," says Barry Cracower, Chair of the Board for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, who joined the Premier in making the announcement.

After hearing that hockey greats Jiri Fischer collapsed and Mario Lemieux retired due to an irregular heartbeat like his, Chase, a Vaughan Kings Minor Pewee AAA player, started to campaign to make AEDs mandatory in hockey arenas and schools everywhere. Sadly, on February 9, 2006, at the age of 11, Chase collapsed during gym class and was rushed to hospital, where he passed away six days later. Working with his family, the Foundation established the Heart&Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund to continue the work that Chase began.

"Our son Chase had a dream of seeing more defibrillators available in more public places to save more lives," said John McEachern, Chase's father. An advocate for AEDs at arenas and schools, Chase died due to complications from cardiac arrest. "My wife, Dorothy, son Cole, my mother Jean and I commend the Ontario government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  We are proud to see Chase's memory honoured today."

Since 2006, over 9 million dollars of funding from corporations, community fundraising, government investment and private individuals has allowed HSFO to allocate over 3,000 AEDS. This has directly contributed to saving the lives of 30 people in Ontario.

To distribute the AEDs, Ontario municipal Emergency Medical Services or equivalent were asked to assess their local needs for defibrillators and apply to the Heart and Stroke Foundation for funds for AEDs and training. These local applications were reviewed and communities were allocated funds based on criteria including local need, response times, cardiac survival rates and local readiness to support a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program.

Established in April 2006, the Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, a Life program and the Heart&Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund, have helped provide critical resources for AEDs and training support, so that more lives can be saved.

Every year in Canada, up to 45,000 sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) occur. Up to 85 percent happen outside of a hospital setting in a private dwelling or a public place. For every minute that passes without help, a person's chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent. Research indicates that having an AED at hand is imperative, as defibrillation, when used in conjunction with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the first few minutes can dramatically improve an individual's chance of survival by up to 75 percent. To support the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario's AED initiative, donate online at heartandstroke.ca/restart.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, 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.

SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

For further information:

Teresa Roncon
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
416-489-7111 x 482
Cell: 416-937-5307

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Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

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