With a sweepstakes contest that goes through the summer, an Ahwatukee-based organization seeks to donate life-saving defibrillators to community centers, schools and churches.
The Ride for Your Heart sweepstakes is carried out by the American Foundation for Cardiomyopathy. The idea stemmed from a growing need for more defibrillators in places where kids spend their time, said Ahwatukee Foothills resident Anthony Miller, president and founder of the group.
The sweepstakes’ prizes include Schwinn Cruiser bikes, a Harley Davidson motorcycle or a 2013 Ford Mustang as the grand prize. Miller said he’d like to draw the winners before the next year.
However, Miller has gotten an early start by placing a defibrillator in Inca Elementary School, located in Buckeye.
“It’s a risk that I’m taking by doing it early, but there’s such an overwhelming need for them,” said Miller, who is an open-heart surgery survivor.
Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease common in children. Unfortunately, while some early symptoms include shortness of breath or fatigue, among others, the first for many is a heart attack.
According to Miller, one in every 15 deaths per day in Arizona are related to sudden cardiac arrest.
That’s why Miller and his 3-year-old organization place such an importance on sending out automated defibrillators into the community and city. The defibrillators deliver a dose of electric energy to the affected heart, which works as a stimulant to the body’s natural pacemaker. On average, a single defibrillator costs around $1,500.