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Birth is a beautiful transformation of every woman's soul, body, spirit and life. You have all these questions, what is it going to be? If it's a boy, you can't wait to put him in little league or see them in their first football game. If it's a girl, you can't wait to go shopping with them. Either one, you can't wait till you see them married and enjoying their days of child birth and child rearing, just as I enjoyed mine.
I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy on March 23, 1983, and 6 years later, June 27, 1989, I was blessed with a baby girl. I named her Olivia. Olivia and Manuel are the center of my life.
On April 22, 2004, my life was changed forever. Olivia Corinne Hoff, my one and only daughter, died at the age of 14 of sudden cardiac arrest.Several weeks before Olivia died, she complained about being light headed, as if she were going to faint. She was having bad headaches and her left arm started hurting; as well as the back of her neck. I told her that she was going to see her doctor. His diagnosis was "Stress". I should have asked more questions; but so many times we just accept the doctor's word. Why didn't I ask what other illnesses are associated with chest pains, feeling light headed, bad headaches, neck pain and breathing difficulty? I shouldn't have accepted that it was just stress.
Easter Sunday, April 11, 2004, was Olivia's last day alive. On this day there was a silent killer among us, which I did not know would kill her. April 12, 2004, I found Olivia not breathing, and for 3 days, doctors were trying to figure out why this seemingly, healthy 14 year old girl would go into sudden cardiac arrest. They just didn't know. Finally a diagnosis, Olivia had Long QT Syndrome. I just looked at the doctor and said "What is Long QT Syndrome? Why didn't I know? Why didn't the doctor detect this when she was last seen?
April 22, 2004, my husband and I were faced with a decision no parent should have to make; we had to let our Olivia go. I found that I am one of many mothers that has been affected by this "silent killer". I have read their stories and felt their pain and sorrow. The stories are the same. All of a sudden they are holding a lifeless child in their arms, just as I had. I am now Olivia's voice. I am committed to raising sudden cardiac arrest awareness in my community. I am a mom on a mission.
The goal and vision for the Bakersfield Chapter
When Olivia died, so much was taken away from me. I will continue advocating for Awareness and Change in the fight against sudden cardiac arrest.
AED Billboard Campaign
I am working with Harold Cohn, President of AED Petition Now Alliance, Inc www.AEDpetitionNOW.com.
Images of 50 children, representing all 50 states, will serve as a silent testimony to the importance of mandating AEDs in every school across the country. Each a victim who might have been saved from cardiac arrest, if an AED had been nearby. This campaign was made possible by Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO). When this presentation was made to CCO, they felt so strongly about the awareness initiative, they have paid employees to do the artwork and are now willing to give this artwork to any and all digital billboard companies. This way there's no expense to any of the other companies and all they have to do is upload finished artwork into their digital rotations. I have spoken to the Public Affairs contact person for CCO in Los Angeles. They are more than happy to run our photos.
Visit the Bakersfield Chapter's Facebook page for more information and updates on Chapter activity.
Saturday, February 11, 2012, the Bakersfield Chapter CPR/AED trained church members from Lutheran Church of Prayer. We had previously donated an AED to the church. Several weeks before the church received the AED, they had a church member collapse. She is okay but they knew they wanted to make sure they were prepared for a cardiac emergency.
We look forward to working with their Health Ministry. Our hope is to perform EKG's on middle and high school students.
By: Corinne Ruiz
The SCAA Bakersfield Chapter held its 1st Annual Holiday Gala, Dec 3, 2011. I was very honored to have Dr. Vinod Kumar and Dr. Jarod Salvo, local cardiologists, speak at our event. SCA Survivor Nikki White shared her very touching story of survival, it was an honor to have Nikki as our guest. I was awarded the GD Gupta Memorial Award for Continued Contribution to Promote Health and CPR Training to people of Kern County. The SCAA Bakersfield Chapter was also awarded Certificates of Recognition for "Raising Awareness So Others May Survive" from the KC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and from Senator Michael Rubio. I am so proud of my board members. Thanks to their passion and hard work our event was a huge success!
The SCAA Bakersfield Chapter helped teach 1,200 students CPR. This is the first mass CPR training in our Bakersfield public high schools. Training was a 2 day event. These young students were amazing. They thanked all of us with personal “Thank You” cards and “Hugs”. We hope to repeat the same CPR Training in another school very soon. Complete story>>>
The American Heart Association's 2011 Heart Walk was held at Cal State Bakersfield, Saturday October 22, 2011. The SCAA Bakersfield Chapter had a booth this year. We had so many people stop at our booth wanting to know more about sudden cardiac arrest in our youth and about The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. One of the contacts made was San Joaquin Community Hospital, Heart Center. They want to help our chapter organize a cardiac screening.
It was such a wonderful feeling to have people ask "What can I do to help?" This was a great and very productive event!
Chapter leader Corinne Ruiz has worked tirelessly to spread sudden cardiac arrest and Long QT Syndrome awareness. Read about her efforts as described by Cardiac Science, Bakersfield Eyewitness News, and two articles from the Bakersfield Californian.
The Bakersfield SCAA Chapter had its first event January 11, 2011.
We had a great turnout. Parents brought their children ages 5 and up to learn CPR. David Taylor and Carol Dean, EMT's with Hall Ambulance, demonstrated "Hands Only" CPR. Parents and their children then had the opportunity to perform chest compressions on manikins.
AED's were also part of the training. Every parent and child used an AED Trainer. It was absolutely amazing how quickly the children caught on. One little girl said she was going to share her CPR and AED experience with her school teacher. This same little girl wants her school to get an AED because it saves lives. This is what it's all about!
Here are some comments we received:
"Ok — so I now know why I went last minute to this CPR class. I got home last night and it just popped in my head, hey someone in just this last week told me how their daughter got light headed and sometimes fainted for no reason and she totally down played it like she has the same problem and it was no big deal…I couldn’t remember who though. It came to me this morning, it was a friend at church Raquel, I am so eager to share this viable information with her so she can have her daughter checked. This meeting and awareness very well could be what saves this young girls life who is about the same age as your sister was. Please tell your step mother — Thank You for being bold enough to share and bring awareness to others"!!!
"Thank You once again for heading the CPR class up. It was great! Whole family had a blast and learned something so valuable. Hands was the best way. Let’s do it again soon. I have more folks who would like to learn".
A BIG THANK YOU to my chapter friends, family and everyone who made our first event a huge sucess!
Onward and forward!
"RAISING AWARENESS SO OTHERS MAY SURVIVE"
On any given weekday 10 percent of our population is on school campuses. Nearly 350,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest and a little over 3,000 people per year die from fire. This means we are 100 times more likely to need an automated external defibrillator than a fire extinguisher. Yet, we have laws and building codes requiring fire extinguishers and nothing for defibrillators. What's wrong with this picture?
While defibrillators are located in the corridors of Congress, protecting representatives, senators, staff members and visitors from sudden cardiac arrest, they are not federally mandated in schools.
My daughter was only 14 years old when she died from sudden cardiac arrest. I am now her voice.
We need to help get lifesaving legislation passed in the U.S. Senate. The Josh Miller Hearts Act (S.1197) provides schools with the equipment (automated external defibrillators or AEDs) and training necessary to save the lives of children and adults at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
Kern High School District Board Meeting, Nov 1, 2010. The Bakersfield Chapter presented their AED/CPR Program. Mark Hermes of Cardiac Science demonstrated how to use an AED. If the board approves the chapter's program, we will have the "green light" to move forward with placement of AEDs and CPR Education in all of the Kern High School District.
Wendy Harrison, steering committee member, Corinne Ruiz and Sherry Frith.