Have you ever been in church when someone suffered a heart attack? If so, you know that helpless feeling of having to wait for help to arrive as critical seconds, then minutes go by. In 2009, Representative Becky Carney went into sudden cardiac arrest while at the legislative building, and her life was saved with an onsite Automated External Defibrillator (AED) – i.e., a portable, electronic device used to restore normal heart rhythms in cardiac arrest victims.
Over the next three years, Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW) – an initiative of the NC Council of Churches that is designed to improve the health of people of faith through increased physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco use prevention and cessation – will team up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the American Red Cross – Triangle Area Chapter, and Representative Becky Carney to provide free AEDs and CPR trainings to congregations in NC. The name of this three-year project is Strive to Revive; 50 AEDs will be available in the first year.
With large numbers of individuals attending places of worship throughout NC on a weekly basis, we have the potential to make a real difference and to save lives. In fact, survival rates can be as high as 74% if an AED is administered within 3 minutes of sudden cardiac arrest.
PHW will make an official request for applications from congregations that wish to participate in the coming weeks/months. Please stay tuned and begin sharing information about Strive to Revive with others in your church and/or judicatory. Together, we can beat back the fatal effects of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the US – disproportionately affecting women, African Americans, Latinos and seniors.
For more information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator