Colorado Advocates Urge State Lawmakers in Washington D.C. to Act with Heart to Prevent Deaths from Cardiac Arrest

Last week, cardiac arrest survivors, families who have lost a loved one to cardiac arrest, health care providers and other advocates travelled to Washington, DC to meet with their representatives in Congress and urge them to support the HEARTS Act and Access to AEDs Act.

Advocates from Colorado included cardiac arrest survivor, Anne Hebert and her husband Steve, and Margaret Forbes, advanced practice provider/nurse practitioner in a cardiothoracic intensive care unit. American Heart Association Colorado staff in attendance also included Eric Heydorn, government relations director, and Lyndsey Albright, marketing and communications director.

Anne suffered from cardiac arrest at home four and a half years ago. Her husband Steve acted quickly and was able to perform CPR on Anne with the help of the 911 dispatcher who walked him through telecommunicator CPR.

Margaret knows the pain associated with preventable loss, but even more so she knows the joys in the lifesaving work that she does each day as a nurse.

During the meetings on Capitol Hill, Anne, Margaret and Steve shared their personal stories and urge elected officials to swiftly pass the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Research and Training in the Schools Act or HEARTS Act (H.R. 6829) and the Access to AEDs Act (S. 1024), the former of which was approved unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March.

Both bills would help schools develop cardiac emergency response plans, purchase AEDs and related equipment, and provide CPR/AED training to students and staff, including coaches.

Engaging athletic staff is key because sports play is a factor in about 39% of the 7,000-23,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in young people under 18 each year. In schools with AEDs, approximately 70% survive — seven times the national average.

We urge Congress to listen and to act. You can join us in reaching out to lawmakers in Washington by texting ‘AED’ to 46839.

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