In 2013, Julie Walker lost her 19-year-old daughter, Peyton, to sudden cardiac arrest. Now, she’s helping to make sure that doesn’t happen to other families.
It was announced on Tuesday that UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg has partnered with Walker’s The Peyton Walker Foundation to donate 18 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to the Harrisburg Police Bureau.
“I’ve met so many families who also lost a child or a loved one to sudden cardiac arrest and most often during cardiac arrest, there was not an AED available,” Walker said. “AEDs are a critical tool to saving someone who is in cardiac arrest.”
The about $40,500 to purchase the AEDs came from funds raised last September at UPMC Pinnacle’s annual “3.2 to Protect the Blue 5k” race, along with additional funds from UPMC.
According to Kathy Hogan Flinn, director of emergency nursing at UPMC Pinnacle, the police bureau only had two AEDs, which is why they decided to direct funds that way.
The donation comes during Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. According to the foundation, SCA is “the sudden onset of an abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythm that causes the heart to beat ineffectively or not at all” and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
The AEDs will be placed in Harrisburg police cruisers. The Peyton Walker Foundation will provide training for officers on how to use the devices. In recent years, the foundation has provided training and over 115 AEDs to schools and organizations.
“The Peyton Walker Foundation and UPMC, we thank you so much,” said police Commissioner Thomas Carter. “This will come in very handy for us.”
In July, Gov. Tom Wolf signed “Peyton’s Law” to educate student-athletes and parents on SCA and the importance of EKG testing for discovering issues that could lead to SCA.
The new law requires the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) to include information on EKG testing on forms that student-athletes receive.
“Working together, we are protecting hearts and saving lives so that the beat goes on,” Walker said.
UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg is located at 111 S. Front St. For more information, visit their website. The Peyton Walker Foundation is located at 2929 Gettysburg Rd., Suite 8, Camp Hill. For more information, visit their website.
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