Being a Part of Something Bigger

I am on my way home from the 9th Annual Parent Heart Watch Conference. I sit on the Board and Simon’s Fund was a sponsor. It is a great organization that brings families and organizations together. Here are some thoughts that I shared with the attendees.

Simon’s Fund is really happy to join the likes of the Acomporas and sponsor this Conference because it is something very special. We all have something in common – our lives have been touched by sudden cardiac arrest. However, we are all in this room together because we want to do something about it.

As we saw in the Members’ Rock Presentation this morning, many of us are doing great things in our hometown, but at a place like this, we figure out how to do it bigger and better. We make new discoveries. We find new friends. We talk about best practices. We connect the dots. Really, the possibilities of what we can accomplish are endless.

Let me share a few examples. This past year, with the help of the Nick of Time Foundation, we launched a new website called Screen Across America. It identifies over forty organizations across the country who regularly provide youth heart screenings.

It shows the world that heart screenings aren’t just the pet projects of grieving parents, but that they are part of a national movement.  This concept would not have been developed without our involvement in Parent Heart Watch.

Two years ago, we passed the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act in Pennsylvania. It has already been introduced in six other states, and is expected to be introduced in six more by the end of 2014.  We have worked with many of you in this room on this legislation. This success would not have happened without our involvement in Parent Heart Watch.

I want to take a second and give a shout out to one of these groups because they blow me way.  There are eight students here this weekend from Florida. In 2007, they lost their high school teammate and friend, Rafe. In response, they formed Who We Play For. It is six years later and they are all in college now. They are meeting at 7 AM on Tuesday mornings, going to Orlando to help Martha with heart screenings, traveling to Tallahassee to meet with lawmakers, and placing AEDs around their community. You guys are inspiring. You are also showing up all of us old people.

I hope that this is a very meaningful conference for all of you. I hope that it helps you heal and inspires you to go home to do great things. I also hope that it makes you a believer in the power of Parent Heart Watch, so that as we continue our personal journeys, we will also be thinking about how we can support each other and this great organization.