An important date in my life is just around the corner. Every year on June 2, my wife, Lis, and I remember, reflect and celebrate. No, it is not the date I was brought into the world, our wedding anniversary or a holiday. It is the date that, in 1999, I suffered—and survived—sudden cardiac death. Lis calls it my “rebirthday.”
I’ll bet that several of you have similar celebrations on dates throughout the calendar year. We are among the fortunate, privileged, or you may say blessed, individuals whose heart suddenly stopped beating yet, through the efforts of special “angels” or “heroes,” are still around to experience the joys that life brings. If not for a team of those heroes and an automated external defibrillator (AED), I would have not have been here to marry a wonderful woman, experience the birth of two of my grandchildren or watch two others grow into young womanhood.
That is why I am writing to ask you to put aside another important date so that we can help the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation ensure that future victims of this killer of nearly 400,000 people annually are given the same chance to experience life’s wonderful moments and milestones.
That date is Saturday, May 19, and you can help by joining the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation team at the Highmark Walk For a Healthy Community starting at 9:00 a.m. from Stage AE on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
We would like you to drop by the Foundation tent, introduce yourselves and, if possible, join the team on the walk on what forecasters promise will be a beautiful morning for a Saturday stroll.
If you can’t be with us that day, please help by becoming a virtual walker with a financial donation to help the Foundation increase awareness about the need for more people to be trained in CPR and the importance of placing AEDs in high traffic areas like schools, the workplace, recreation areas, retail outlets and malls.
In either case, call 724-934-0034 or click here to learn more. Be assured that 100% of your contribution will go to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.
By the way, those two grandchildren are twins Gianni and Stella—happy, healthy toddlers who are a great joy to the Pop-Pop who, but for the hand of fate, a few dedicated health care workers and an AED, would have never had the chance to know them.
I hope to see you on Saturday.
A.J. Caliendo, Survivor