Editor’s note: The Vail Daily is running profiles of local nonprofits that are participating in Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 9. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. And for the first time ever, it features a $1 million incentive fund created by the partners. Donate online at www.ColoradoGives.org or schedule your donation in advance.

Starting Hearts
Starting Hearts was formed in 2010, three years after its founder, Lynn Blake, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in Vail Village on Valentine’s Day. She was an otherwise healthy 27-year-old when her heart stopped without warning. Due to the quick intervention of bystanders, who dialed 911, performed CPR and used an automatic external defibrillator (AED), she became one of the very lucky 8 percent to survive SCA. Now, her calling is to increase the odds for others who are suddenly stricken through the efforts of Starting Hearts.

SCA is the leading cause of unexpected death in Colorado and around the world; the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation estimates close to 360,000 individuals suffer SCA annually — roughly 1,000 per day. But Starting Hearts’ goal is to change these numbers. The mission of Starting Hearts is to save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims by providing free CPR and AED education along with reducing the time in which emergency medical assistance is received.

Starting Hearts has three primary programs: CALL. PUSH. SHOCK. — a free community education program on how to respond to sudden cardiac arrest. This training empowers residents and guests to initiate a rescue by calling 911, perform CPR and locate and operate an AED. Nearest AED is a program focused on increasing AED access throughout Eagle County. Administering an AED within the first three minutes increases the chance of survival to 70 percent. Neighbor Saver is a 911-aided citizen response system that utilizes PulsePoint, a location-aware application that alerts trained and willing citizens when someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and needs assistance. If you are trained in CPR, then please download the free PulsePoint App on your smartphone, search for “Vail” from the agency list, and check the CPR box. Be a hero!

Visit www.startinghearts.org to learn more about Starting Hearts.