Schools Use YouTube to Promote Saving Lives (Full title below)

Jeremy Whitehead and Carissa Caramanis O’Brien Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
Jeremy Whitehead and Carissa Caramanis O’Brien Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

Schools Use YouTube to Promote Saving Lives — The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation’s ‘You Can Save a Life’ Video Awareness Contest

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is giving a new generation of students the power to save a life. With its second ‘You Can Save a Life’ Video Awareness Contest, the SCA Foundation is awarding new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the schools that best utilize YouTube videos to raise awareness for sudden cardiac arrest and early access to CPR and defibrillation. “Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone at any time, including students, teachers and community members in schools and playing fields across the nation,” said Mary Newman, President of the SCA Foundation. “When our youth and their leaders embrace the opportunity to get trained in CPR and AED use, we begin to foster the growth of a new generation of people who are ready, willing and able to help in sudden cardiac emergencies. Ultimately, this generation has the power to dramatically increase survival from the nation’s leading cause of death.” The SCA Foundation first held this contest in honor of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, during the first week of June, expanding its You Can Save a Life at School™ awareness campaign to include a video competition for students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. It has been a great way to get students involved in raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest, and in understanding how they can have a positive impact on survival. The first contest drove student teams from across the country to write, film and submit videos about the importance of CPR and AED use, empowering students to gain life-saving skills and to be advocates for early access to defibrillation in their communities. The 3–5 minute video entries were posted on the SCA Foundation’s YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/SCAFoundation) and promoted nationwide. A panel of judges reviewed the entries for their overall message, creativity, originality, degree of student participation and likelihood to raise awareness. While technical accuracy was not a key focus in the judging, one of the objectives of the contest was to encourage the development — through awareness and training — of potentially life-saving skills. St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Salisbury, Maryland was announced the Grand Prize Winner on June 4. See their winning video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXwjpZ55KTQ. The SCA Foundation awarded the school with a new AED, three CPR Anytime™ kits, and a Nintendo Wii game system (spoiler alert: the winning video even features a Nintendo Wii!). An official presentation is scheduled for the start of the new school year. “We are a small school with limited resources and an emerging health program,” said St. Francis de Sales School Nurse Andrea Maione. “An AED was on the top of our must-have list to ensure our emergency preparedness. We are so thrilled to have won, as the AED will serve not only the students, faculty and staff of our school, but through our onsite community parish center, where many events are held, it will also be available to our broader community.” The other categories’ winners are also featured on the SCA Foundation website. Making an Impact Early indications suggest the SCA Foundation’s You Can Save a Life at School™ awareness campaign is successful in raising awareness and promoting heart-safe actions across the country. The campaign features a 20-page publication developed in cooperation with The RedFlash Group. The publication and cover story, “Saving Kaitlin,” by Laura McNeal, were each named as finalists in the Western Publications Association’s 2009 Maggie Awards. Kaitlin Forbes survived SCA thanks to the actions of her coach, school nurse, and fellow students. Ironically, Kaitlin later lost her best friend, Maggie O’Malley, who suffered SCA at home in 2006. “More than 20,000 copies of You Can Save a Life at School™ have been distributed to schools throughout the country,” said Newman. “We created and worked with a coalition of non-profit partners interested in helping prevent and prepare for SCA at schools, plus corporate sponsors, to create an award-winning publication and companion website at http://www.sca-aware.org/schools.” Sponsors include the Boston Scientific Foundation, Cardiac Science, the American Safety & Health Institute, the School Health Corporation, the St. Jude Medical Foundation, Physio-Control, Inc., and ZOLL Medical Corporation. To download a copy of You Can Save a Life at School™, please visit: http://www.sca-aware.org/sites/www.eplabdigest.com/files/u1/docs/schools/SCA-Foundation-You-Can-Save-A-Life-at-School.pdf. More of the country learned Kaitlin’s story when a reporter at People magazine saw a copy of the “Saving Kaitlin” article and was moved to feature her in the March 23, 2009 issue. Titled “A Teen's Heartfelt Mission: After nearly dying of sudden cardiac arrest, Kaitlin Forbes teaches the skills that saved her life,” (http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20271218,00.html), the story highlighted that after Maggie died, Kaitlin and Maggie’s friends, along with their mothers, started the ‘Heart Safe Club of Rhinebeck’ (http://www.maggieomalley.org/heartsafe.htm) to promote CPR and AED awareness and provide community CPR and AED instruction. Shortly afterwards, Kaitlin and her mother were invited to ‘The Bonnie Hunt Show’ in Los Angeles. The live interview, which aired April 8, raised both awareness and emotions (see http://bonniehunt.com/as_seen_on/090406/08wednesday/photos.html). “Bonnie reviewed the [SCA Foundation’s] publication in advance. She had tears in her eyes after Kaitlin told her story,” said Linda Cotter-Forbes, Kaitlin’s mother. According to Linda, at least 85 people from around the country wrote to ‘The Bonnie Hunt Show’ to say how touched they were by the broadcast and that they are now motivated to get AEDs into their children’s schools. Kaitlin will next share her experiences and passion for saving lives at an SCA Foundation event in Pittsburgh on October 15. Serendipitously, Regina Coeli Elementary School, where Kaitlin’s younger sisters are students, became the first place winner in the elementary school category. “They were thrilled that they won an AED,” said Cotter-Forbes. “Parents at the school were impacted by the contest, since they now have a better understanding that SCA can happen to anyone, even the young.” New Contest Set for Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month The SCA Foundation is holding its ‘You Can Save a Life’ Video Awareness Contest again in October, to celebrate National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. As with the previous contest, AEDs were donated by Cardiac Science and ZOLL Medical Corporation, both sponsors of the Foundation’s You Can Save a Life at School™ awareness campaign. The SCA Foundation challenges EP Lab Digest readers to get involved by being advocates for SCA awareness in their communities and helping local school districts establish programs, beginning with the production of a memorable 3-5 minute video. Perhaps your local school could be among the next winners. For contest details, visit http://www.sca-aware.org/schools/win-an-aed-contest and follow the SCA Foundation on Twitter at http://twitter.com/youcansavealife. To learn more about the broader You Can Save a Life at School™ campaign, visit http://www.sca-aware.org/schools. You may also donate to help further the Foundation’s mission at http://www.sca-aware.org.