OSKALOOSA – Employees at Mahaska Health Partnership wanted to do something special to recognize National Heart Health Month in February. They ended up raising enough money to purchase two AEDs — Automated External Defibrillator — for the Lacey Recreation Complex in Oskaloosa.
According to MHP Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Renee Edgar, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. It can happen to anyone at anytime and at any age. AEDs are computerized medical devices that can check a person’s heart rhythm and advise the rescuer when a shock is needed.
“AEDs are designed for the layperson,” Edgar said. “It uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell what steps to take. The American Heart Association supports placing AEDs in targeted pubic areas such as sports arenas.”
According to Edgar, the idea of an employee fundraising campaign to purchase AEDs for the Lacey Recreation Complex came from a physician on MHP’s Medical Staff.
“So many of our employees have children who utilize Lacey and it is a gathering place for people of all ages,” she said.
Edgar worked with MHP’s Marketing Department and CEO Jay Christensen to help get word out regarding the fundraiser. A Jeans Day was held, employees were able to payroll deduct a contribution and free-will donations were requested.
“Our goal was to raise enough money for one AED, but the response was so overwhelming from our physicians, medical professionals and staff, we were able to purchase two,” Edgar said.
“While this was an employee fund-raiser, people in the community heard about it and wanted to contribute. We received generous donations from The Hair Designers, Farm Bureau in Oskaloosa and several other community members who understand the importance of having AEDs available because they themselves are cardiac rehabilitation patients.”