Big Heart Champions donate defibrillator

The life-saving equipment is now on hand at Abbotsford Exhibition Park.

Sheila Porlier (left) of Abbotsford Parks Recreation and Culture; Gillian Yardley

Sheila Porlier (left) of Abbotsford Parks Recreation and Culture; Gillian Yardley

B.C.’s leading Heart and Stroke Big Bike team has placed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in Abbotsford Exhibition Park.

The “Big Heart Champions” team won the opportunity to place the AED through a Big Bike fundraising challenge. The opportunity is particularly meaningful for team member Dustin Heinrichs, as his life was saved by a paramedic’s AED three years ago at age 28.

Heinrichs and his Abbotsford teammates won the provincial challenge based on their fundraising efforts and community support for their team.

“Without CPR and an access to an AED, Dustin would not have survived his sudden cardiac arrest,” said Dustin’s wife, Kristelle.

Dustin’s life was saved when he had a sudden cardiac arrest at home. Kristelle called 911 and performed CPR. When paramedics arrived, they used an AED to successfully restart his heart.

“With the help of individuals, community groups and corporate sponsors, like The Big Heart Champions, AEDs will become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in B.C., to save lives,” said Deborah Rusch, manager, patient programs, BC and Yukon, at the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

According to the foundation, approximately 45,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur each year, with the majority either at home or in public places.

For every minute that passes without help, a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by up to 10 per cent.

Learning CPR is easy and inexpensive and it could mean saving the life of a friend or family member. When defibrillation is applied with CPR in the first few minutes, it can improve a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival to up to 75 per cent.

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