Posted on 10/01/2008

SCA Foundation to Celebrate by Honoring the Heroes Who Saved Maxwell King

October 1, 2008 – PITTSBURGH – Congress has declared October “National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month” in an effort to raise awareness about the nation’s leading cause of death. The resolution “calls upon the people of the U.S. to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.”

“We applaud Congress for taking this landmark action,” said David Belkin, Esq., of Bethesda, Maryland, a recent survivor of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation board member. “Thousands of lives will be saved every year as a result.”

The Foundation, a member of the SCA Coalition, which advocated for the legislation, will celebrate National SCA Awareness Month by hosting an awards reception on October 29th in Pittsburgh to honor the heroes who saved the life of national nonprofit leader, Maxwell King.

King is executive director of Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. He was president of the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh and chairman of the national Council on Foundations when he suffered SCA during a meeting of foundation leaders at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh on November 1, 2006. King will be nearly two in “survivor-years” at the time of his re-birthday celebration.

“About 500 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest every day and only 30 survive,” said Mary Newman, SCA Foundation president. “Fortunately, Mr. King was one of them, thanks to immediate action by bystanders and the foresight of community champions.”

King’s heroes include museum security officer Manuel Cienfuegos who notified EMS; assistant curators Rachel Delphia and Lucy Stewart Hykes and security officer Shelli Geyer who performed CPR; museum president Richard Armstrong and museum board member, Alex C. Speyer, III, who grabbed and used the museum’s automated external defibrillator (AED), and Donna Panazzi, who spearheaded an initiative to get AEDs into public buildings in downtown Pittsburgh. Read the full story here

“My case is a perfect illustration of the impact of early CPR and defibrillation,” said King, who was treated with mild therapeutic hypothermia in the hospital and now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). “I’m well aware that as a survivor, I’m in the minority. It’s time we changed that. We ought to have a society where 18 out of 20 people survive.”

The SCA Foundation reception will take place at Hyde Park, 247 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. In addition to Mr. King, speakers will include Congressional candidate Melissa Hart, Srinivas Murali, MD, FACC, of the Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute at Allegheny General Hospital, and WTAE news anchor, Andrew Stockey. Invited speakers include Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), co-sponsor of the SCA Awareness Month resolution, and Governor Ed Rendell.

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