MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Liz Lazar

Executive Director, The Via Foundation

A place with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as common as fire extinguishers; where bystanders recognize emergencies and jump to perform CPR; and communities watch sudden cardiac arrest survival rates steadily climb. This is the world I envision – one school, community center, and business at a time.

In 2004, I started working with AED implementation in Monterey County, California, and continued to consult with Fortune 500 companies on global AED programs. After placing hundreds of AEDs all over the world, I decided to focus my efforts nationally and help schools and communities across America obtain and manage AEDs; as a result, The Via Foundation was founded. Our non-profit organization has taught hundreds of people how to perform bystander CPR and has helped implement AEDs in numerous schools, businesses, and communities.

My passion for AEDs comes from meeting sudden cardiac arrest survivors all fortunate enough to have bystanders nearby when they collapsed who knew CPR and how to use a defibrillator. I have also been privileged to meet hundreds of parents who have lost a child to cardiac arrest. They honor their child’s death by making sure other parents don’t have to suffer the same grief that they experienced. Many have spent years trying to talk school boards into allowing AEDs on campuses. Some fund-raise exclusively for the purchase of AEDs for donation. Others organize cardiac screenings at local schools to preemptively catch heart conditions in youth.

Whatever the goal, my job is to help parents succeed. We have drug-free campuses; now let’s work on getting death-free campuses. Help me make every school, community center, business, city, county, and state a Heart Safe Place!

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