The Rochester Junior High baseball team and Principal Kim Poole accept their AED machine from Prairie Heart Institute, the Prairie Heart Foundation and the McGraw family.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - The McGraw family (including Mike and Juliana McGraw, Jenna and Rich Beyers, Christa McGraw, and Dona McGraw) has partnered with Prairie Heart Institute and the Prairie Heart Foundation to begin the Community AED Program in memory of Rick McGraw.

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“The Community AED Program meets a significant need,” says Brandy Grove, manager of philanthropy for the Prairie Heart Foundation. “Recently the Rochester Junior High Baseball Team reached out and requested support for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine at their local baseball field.”

Grove says their team witnessed a tragic event when a local community member suffered cardiac arrest during baseball practice. Although 911 was called, the individual did not survive. When treating a heart attack, every second matters. Research proves Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and AED save lives. Immediate access to an AED machine could have made a difference on the field that day.

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“We grieve with the Rochester community. We are grateful for this partnership with the McGraw family, allowing us to hopefully prevent future tragedies like this by providing life-saving tools,” says Grove.

“As the local leader in heart health, Prairie Cardiovascular wants to ensure community members in the regions we serve have access to life-saving tools to provide immediate assistance to those in need,” says Tammy Lett, chief operating officer of HSHS Medical Group and Prairie Cardiovascular. “In partnership with Prairie Heart Foundation and the McGraw family, we are proud to provide the Community AED Program to organizations in the communities Prairie serves.”

The Community AED Program has already awarded several AED machines to area organizations, including the Loami Police Department, The Springfield Hitting Center/Arsenal Baseball Club, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Camp Cilca and Rochester Junior High baseball team.

All approved applicants receive the Zoll AED Plus with Real CPR Help®, real-time CPR feedback to help rescuers save a life. While only half of all sudden cardiac arrest victims will require shock, 100% will need critical and quality CPR. Real CPR guides the user every step of the way, both telling and showing the user what do to. In addition, all approved applicants will receive AED setup, inspection tags and a 1-year license for each machine.

For more information about the program or to apply, visit https://www.prairieheart.org/giving/aed-program/ or contact Brandy Grove, manager of philanthropy for Prairie Heart Foundation, at 217-814-5177 or Brandy.Grove@hshs.org.

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