London

Dads raise $50,000 to put defibrillators in all London high schools

Dad Club London has raised $50,000 to put live-saving defibrillators into every high school in the city.

Money left over will pay for 12 additional devices for elementary schools

A typical automated external defibrillator (AED) found in an increasing number of schools in Ontario. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Thanks to Dad Club London, every high school in the city will soon have a live-saving defibrillator.

The service club presented a cheque for $50,000 to the Thames Valley District School board Tuesday, the result of a summer-long fundraising effort.

The money will pay for an automated external defibrillator (AED) to be installed at each of the nine public high schools in London that currently don't have one. The remainder of the money raised will used to put the devices in at least 12 elementary schools, said Jeremy McCall, president of Dad Club.

Defibrillators deliver an electric current to the heart when someone is suffering a heart attack. When administered properly and soon after a cardiac arrest, they can dramatically increase the chances of survival.

"According to a formula released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, upwards of two people per year across the school board – whether it be a student, staff or person renting the facility – could experience cardiac arrest while at (a) school. So having defibrillators on site will very likely save lives," said McCall.

The push to put the devices in schools followed the death in May 2015 of 15-year-old Andrew Stoddard. He died of cardiac arrest while playing soccer at a high school in Kintore, Ontario.

"That put the wheels in motion … No parents want to lose a child. And I think that very thought was enough to engage people into really opening their pockets," said McCall.

The money was raised from lemonade stands and bottle collections to individual donations, and included the proceeds from Dad Club London's first annual golf tournament.

The Thames Valley District School wants to put a defibrillator into every school in the system within five years. The board has agreed to install and maintain the devices but has asked the community to purchase them.

Trustee Jake Skinner praised Dad Club for helping move the board closer to its objective.

"What Dad Club has accomplished is they've given us … a big push, a lot of wind in our sails to move towards achieving that ultimate end."

Skinner said he expects the new defibrillators for the city's high schools  to be installed within a matter of weeks.

About the Author

Gary Ennett

Morning News Editor

Gary Ennett is a veteran editor and reporter. He’s been with CBC since the opening of the London bureau in 1998. His email address is gary.ennett@cbc.ca

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