CHICAGO – Tuesday, February 23, 2010. - Governor Pat Quinn today presented nine Heartsaver Hero Awards during American Heart Month. Heartsaver Heroes are individuals who have either saved a life using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) or served as a citizen advocate in the growing grassroots movement to make AED’s as common as fire extinguishers in Illinois.
“Automated External Defibrillators are saving lives across Illinois and across the nation,” said Governor Quinn. “There are people standing in this room who would not be here today to tell their stories if it weren’t for an easily accessible AED and a quick thinking Illinois citizen who knew how to use it. I salute these heroes and encourage all residents to store AEDs in easily accessible places.”
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable, life-saving devices that can be used to restore natural heart rhythm to someone in cardiac arrest. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Illinois, claiming the lives of more than 250,000 Americans each year. The American Red Cross estimates that up to 100,000 people across the country could be saved if AED machines were more readily accessible.
On January 21, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1371 (Public Act 96-0873), which amended the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act to ensure that AEDs were provided at both indoor and outdoor sporting events.
In 2004, then Lt. Governor Quinn worked with the Illinois General Assembly to pass the landmark Colleen O’Sullivan Law requiring defibrillators in schools, indoor park district facilities and physical fitness facilities. Colleen O’Sullivan, a staff attorney for the Illinois House of Representatives, died of heart complications in 2002 after exercising at a health club.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also manages the Heartsaver AED Fund, which helps make AED’s more affordable by providing matching grants to schools, indoor park district facilities and fitness facilities. Illinois citizens are encouraged to become Heartsaver Heroes by donating to the fund by writing to: Heartsaver AED Fund, IDPH Division of EMS, 525 W. Jefferson, Springfield, IL 62761.
2010 Heartsaver Heroes:
Katie Basile (Hoffman Estates) - In April 2005, Jack Melligan was playing tennis at the Prairie Stone Fitness and Wellness Center when he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed. Staff members led by Katie Basile performed CPR and administered the AED, which stabilized Melligan until paramedics could take him to the hospital. He was one of the first people saved by the Colleen O’Sullivan law. Katie will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Dr. Vincent Bufalino (Naperville) - During a Christmas holiday dinner this past December, Dan Biggins suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed. Thinking quickly, Bufalino rushed to retrieve the AED he keeps in the trunk of his car. With the help of three cardiac nurses who were attending the party, he was able to stabilize Biggins until the paramedics arrived, saving his life. Dr. Bufalino will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Officer David Cacioppo (Park Ridge) - On July 8, 2009, 51-year-old Lars Larsen collapsed at Pickwick Restaurant in Park Ridge. Being the first responder to the scene, Officer Cacioppo brought the AED kept in his squad car into the eatery. After making sure bystanders were clear, he administered a single shock and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Officer Cacioppo will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Elvis Falbo and Michael Guerin (Chicago), Chicago Fire Department Paramedics - On July 2 of last year, a family was walking down Michigan Avenue on their way to the Taste of Chicago when a woman collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest. Falbo and Guerin were assigned to the festival as bike paramedics. Upon responding to the report, they administered their portable AED and stabilized her. In a wonderful sign, the woman was unusually alert and responsive to the ambulance crew. Elvis and Michael will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Justin Gedner (Naperville) - Early one morning this December, Lance Lawson was playing his regular game of basketball at the Naperville YMCA. While playing, Lawson collapsed in the gymnasium. As the lifeguard on duty, Gedner immediately responded to the man-down situation by grabbing the AED just outside the gym. After safely administering it, he saved Lawson’s life. As a survivor, Lawson is now interested in becoming a paramedic. Gedner will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Glenwood Middle School (St.Charles) - For the last three years, teachers and administers have gone to great lengths to certify every student in their 4th-8th grade school in proper CPR technique, and how to use an AED to save a life because it has been documented that having an AED on site is not enough without someone who is trained to use it. Representatives of the school will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Eric Gustafson, Laura LaRue and Tracy Trimble (Naperville) - Shortly after noon on June 26 at the Edward Health and Fitness Center in Naperville, 59-year-old Jack Hummel passed out after over-exerting himself during his workout. Upon failing to find a pulse, Gustafson and LaRue started CPR while Trimble administered the AED. After being shocked twice, Hummel stabilized and was taken to the hospital where he was later fitted for a pacemaker. Eric, Laura and Tracy will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Deputies Clarence Saulters and Andrew McCulloch (Rockford) - On the evening of Sept. 5, Winnebago Emergency Authorities responded to the home of 35-year-old congestive heart failure patient Jeffrey Glaser. His face was discolored due to his difficulty breathing, and he was not moving. After shocking him twice and performing CPR, Glaser’s pulse was restored, he and could be transported to the hospital. Saulters and McCulloch will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award.
Becky Smith, Dan Schroeder, Jill Davis, Christine Riemer and Chana Hinkston (Rockford) - During track practice after school on the afternoon of April 9, Ty-Rae Thomas collapsed. Others saw and quickly ran to his assistance. Eisenhower Middle School’s AED was inside the school near where Thomas was practicing. Smith, the PE teacher; Hinkston, the track coach; Riemer, the assistant principal; Davis, the principal; and Schroeder, his 7th grade math teacher, correctly administered the AED before the first responders arrived, saving Thomas’ life. They will be present to receive a Heartsaver Hero award.