Andrew Cohn was a normal 15-year-old kid with a healthy heart until someone ran into him at just the wrong millisecond during a baseball game.
The St. Marys teen’s heart jerked into an unnatural rhythm, and he died of sudden cardiac arrest shortly after. His life might have been saved if an AED had been close by. An AED, which stands for Automated External Defibrillator, is that device that zaps the heart back into a normal rhythm.
Now Andrew’s parents, Harold and Becky Cohn, are leading an effort to mandate having AEDs in every school in the country. It turns out that almost 6,000 kids under age 19 die each year of sudden cardiac arrest. Chances are, some would still be here if AEDs were more readily available. When a heart is in trouble, each minute is crucial, and by the time an ambulance arrives, it’s often too late.
“The chances of survival are as high as 90 percent if an AED is available in the first two or three minutes. Every minute after that, the chances go down about 10 percent,” Andrew’s father said during a launch party for the AED Petition Now campaign’s website, http://aedpetitionnow.com/.
If you visit the site, make sure you have a box of tissues ready. The home page features a touching video of Andrew’s parents telling their story.
Andrew died May 15, 2010. Since then, the St. Marys community has really come behind his parents to support their campaign. They’re hoping that support will spread throughout the country.