AVON, Colo. We've been showcasing local heroes in our community all week long as part of a joint effort with KJCT News 8 and the American Red Cross.
Thursday’s hero is a woman who has dedicated her life to teaching people CPR with her traveling program and providing easy access to defibrillator’s after her brush with death at a very early age.
"Starting hearts was formed in 2010 by our founder Lynn Blake who at the age of 27 suffered a sudden cardiac arrest,” says Executive Director of Starting Hearts Alan Himelfarb. “Very fortunately, one of her co-workers was able to give her CPR, to call 9-1-1, and then the emergency medical people arrived and were able to give her three shocks with a defibrillator and it saved her life."
Now Starting Hearts, located in Avon, Colorado, works on their mission of awareness and readiness. Founder Lynn Blake had an epiphany after her brush with death.
"So, I thought gosh, if I’ve never been trained, how many other people in our community have not been trained either? I really felt like there's a need to educate people in our community and increase access to defibrillators,” says Blake.
And that's exactly what the organization has done-- acquired funding to place AED's in public spaces in the Eagle, Vail region and conducting CPR and AED training throughout the area in schools and businesses.
"I never thought I would use CPR. It's one of those training courses that you take and once I had done it, I was like, wow, I did it! I would encourage everyone, if they have an opportunity to seek and take CPR-- learn as much as you can,” says citizen responder Sue Froeschle.
And for Blake's part in forming this life-saving program, the community has the utmost respect.
"I’m amazed that one individual can do as much as she has done with starting hearts,” says Froeschle.
As for her own recognition as a Red Cross hero: "The Red Cross is an extraordinary organization and I feel extremely honored to be recognized by them,” says Blake.
The Red Cross will honor these Heroes of Western Colorado at their 9th annual banquet and dinner Friday, April 24th, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel.
Tickets are still available. You can call 242-6640 or go to redcross.org/colorado for more information.