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

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

MAY 21, 2009 (EDMONTON) – 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™ 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 Krescy, 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 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 ™ 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 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™ 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.

Media inquiries:

Natalie St-Denis                                                          Laurie Weir
Heart and Stroke Foundation Alberta,                            Trillium Corporate Communications Inc.
NWT & Nunavut                                                         P. 416-277-2453 / 416-322-3030 ext. 239
P. 403-781-1975                                                         E.

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