Posted on 06/08/2016

Meeting to precede the inaugural Steel City Fire on Ice Charity Challenge

PITTSBURGH, PA--The Southwestern Pennsylvania Affiliate of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation will meet on Saturday, June 25 at 5:00 pm at the RMU Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh. Sudden cardiac arrest survivors, their families, and other advocates are invited to attend.

The meeting will take place before the inaugural Steel City Fire on Ice Charity Challenge. Pittsburgh area firefighters and firefighters from Johnstown, PA, will compete in a hockey game to raise funds for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. The faceoff will take place at 7:00 pm.

The Southwestern PA Affiliate’s purpose is to advance the Foundation’s mission to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and help save lives—at a local level. “We aim to provide a safe place for people affected by sudden cardiac arrest to share their experiences, find support, and work to save other lives,” said volunteer Affiliate Coordinator, Renee DeMichiei Farrow.

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, without warning. It affects about 1,000 people each day in the U.S., including many young people and athletes. Unfortunately, only 10 percent of victims survive. Those who do pull through invariably received immediate treatment with CPR and a defibrillator. Survival rates in Pittsburgh reflect the national average. 

Fortunately, there is a slowly growing community of cardiac arrest victims in the Pittsburgh area who did survive, thanks to immediate bystander action with CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and effective EMS response.

“I owe my life to two bystanders, amazing EMS responders, and the support of my family and friends,” said Susan Koeppen, KDKA TV news anchor and National Spokesperson for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Koeppen suffered SCA in November 2011 at the age of 39 when she was training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. She will be speaking at the June 25 event, along with Beth Sutton, Skating Director at RMU Island Sports Center, a friend who was with Susan at the time of her event.

But physical survival is just the first step. According to research conducted among members of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Network, most cardiac arrest survivors experience the need to share experiences with others and the need to seek a new-normal, both personally and with others. Family members often express frustration with a lack of information at discharge, concern about their loved one’s memory loss, and concern their loved one might experience another cardiac arrest.

“Through this meeting—and the hockey game—we hope to bring together people who have been personally affected by sudden cardiac arrest, who would like to connect with their peers, and who would like to work together to help improve survival,” said Mary Newman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation president. 

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