For the Saving Hearts Foundation (SHF) #JustDoGood exemplifies what it means to persevere through the challenges that one may face in order to make a difference in the lives of others. SHF was founded by three UCLA undergraduate students in 2014 with the mission to prevent sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) through awareness, education, and action. SCA is the number one killer of student-athletes and the number two killer of individuals under the age of 25. SHF provides free heart screenings to individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 in the greater Los Angeles area to test for warning signs of SCA. Since 2014, we have screened nearly 4,000 individuals in LA and internationally and our teams have caught dozens of cardiac abnormalities. We also teach hands-only CPR and donate AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) to LA area schools. Our most recent contribution was the first AED placed in the Los Angeles Unified School District!
Through SHF we have had the opportunity to meet parents who have lost their children to SCA. The stories that we have heard from them have become our motivation to continue to our fight against preventable SCA. Many of their children had diseases that could have been detected by an EKG or echocardiogram like we provide during our heart screenings. Arguably even more frustrating is that some of them could have survived if bystanders knew to begin CPR or to locate an AED during their cardiac arrest. It is for these reasons that as long as SCA occurs, the SHF team will be an advocate for SCA prevention.
Of the many challenges that have been presented in creating and operationalizing SHF, none are comparable to the reward of helping others and saving lives. A mother once emailed us and stated, “By the grace of God and your event, I believe you saved my son’s life”. Her son had discovered he had a condition called Wolff Parkinsons White syndrome during our heart screening and had a heart procedure just one week later. It is occurrences like these that remind us of the difference that we can all make by challenging ourselves to #JustDoGood.