UW students raise money to put AED in residence hall to save someone in cardiac arrest

The University of Wisconsin – Madison student organization Cardiac on Campus has raised $1,200 to buy an Automatic External Defibrillator, or AED, to keep in the Witte Residence Hall.

The group is working to show college-aged students that heart health isn’t just important for older adults.

“The focus on leaning towards it as an adult issue is kind of taking away from the fact that this can also very, very catastrophically affect young people,” said Jessica Miller.

Miller co-founded Cardiac on Campus in 2015 as a sophomore at UW after her cousin died of sudden cardiac arrest while running a half-marathon in Milwaukee.

“He was 20. He was healthy, you know? And that’s not supposed to happen, and he literally collapsed at the finish line of the race. Just the entire experience, the entire day was terribly shocking in the worst way,” said Miller.

Now Miller is watching the organization she and her cousin built make great strides on campus.

The group has CPR certified more than 600 people, including residence hall supervisors who were not required to be trained.

The AED in Witte Residence Hall is the third AED donated by Cardiac on Campus, but of the 21 residence halls there are only six AEDs.

“Other Big Ten schools do have policies that ensure that there’s an AED available in every residence hall but, unfortunately, we do not,” said Cardiac on Campus president Andreas Kyrvasilis.

The group will continue raising funds to eventually put AEDs in every residence hall.

“You don’t really think, ‘Oh, where’s the next AED that I can find?’ every time you walk into a place, but when you need it, it will make a difference whether it’s there or not,” said Kyrvasilis.

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