Teamwork from First Responders and Norwalk Hospital Staff Leads to Remarkable Recovery After Sudden Cardiac Arrest

NORWALK, Connecticut, October 3, 2018 — Todd Boe of Norwalk, Connecticut, knew he had a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, which affects his heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. But for the past several years he had been living with his condition successfully. That’s why, on the evening of July 6, 2018, the fit and active 53-year-old had no reason to suspect that his plans for a casual family dinner would be interrupted, and certainly not by a life-threatening cardiac event.


November 27, 2018 is Giving Tuesday.  Help us in our mission to save lives from sudden cardiac death. To donate you can click on the link below.  Thank you for your support.

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    Giving Tuesday

October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month

October 10, 2018, Sacramento, Calif. -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Did you know it’s also Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness month? Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, is a debilitating condition that can affect people of all ages. From infants to healthy, active teens, from adults with known heart disease to older adults, it is a truly equal opportunity affliction that claims a life every two minutes.

SCA is the leading cause of death in the United States. It takes more than 350,000 lives each year. That is more than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS.

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, in conjunction with ten other heart-focused non-profit organizations have published a fact-based webpage, www.stopcardiacarrest.org, to bring focus to this devastating condition.

“With awareness and education, SCAA and its sister organizations, strongly believe that we can and will put a significant dent in this terrible statistic,” said Josh Fischer, chair of the national non-profit SCAA. “Data shows a miserably low survival rate of 10 percent or less. However, when a patient receives lifesaving, hands-only CPR within the first three to six minutes, until an AED can be used, or EMS arrives, that survival rate will increase dramatically.”

SCAA believes everyone needs to know three steps to saving a life:

  1. Always call 911.
  2. Get certified. Hands-only CPR administered in the first few minutes until an AED or emergency medical arrives on scene is immensely important.
  3. Be familiar with and know where AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) are located. These life-saving devices bring the power of the ambulance to your fingertips.

 Visit www.stopcardiacarrest.org today.


SCAA Launches New Online Store to Help Save Lives

October 4, 2018, Sacramento, Calif. – More than 350,000 people succumb to a sudden cardiac arrest each year in the United States, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA). This October, the organization has two messages for Americans that can significantly help to save lives: Learn and use Hands-only CPR and Make sure all buildings have working AEDs.

Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA) claim one life every two minutes. Anyone can experience this debilitating condition including infants, children, teens and young adults, adults in their prime with no sign of heart disease as well as older, mature adults. SCA is an “equal opportunity” condition.

“Our goal is to prevent unnecessary death from an SCA,” said Josh Fischer, chair of the national non-profit, SCAA. “We have a goal to double the survival rate, which currently is less than 10 percent. We see two factors that can significantly raise that statistic. Right now, only 32 percent of those suffering from SCA get much needed CPR in the critical first few minutes. Folks either don’t know this life saving process or are too afraid to get involved. The second factor is access to automated external defibrillators or AEDs.”

SCAA just launched an online store, AEDStore.ORG, to help businesses and organization purchase AEDs in public venues, workplaces, schools and multi-use facilities. “October is National Sudden Cardiac Awareness month—a great reminder to check AED batteries and order supplies to ensure you are ready in case an emergency happens,” Fischer said.

AEDstore.org features AED products and supplies at competitive prices from all the major AED manufacturers including Cardiac-Science, Defibtech, Heartsine, Philips, Physio-Control and Zoll. In addition to AED supplies, the store features recognition awards including pins, military/police-style bars and certificates to honor:

SCAA chapters actively work to build awareness about SCA and how to combat it with handsfree CPR and AED placement. They also work to raise funds to purchase AEDs for use in public places such as houses of worships, civic organization facilities, and schools.  In addition, through SCAA awards, chapters recognize those who have survived this debilitating condition, those who helped to save someone suffering an SCA and those who have an internal defibrillator or ICD implant.

“We recognize that we have many choices in AED providers and, through our store—AEDstore.ORG, that’s ORG since we are a non-profit—we can continue our efforts to help those providers and SCAA achieve ubiquitous access to this lifesaving device,” said Jeanne Alford, SCAA Executive Director.


New Leadership Brings Marketing, Program Development Expertise to Position

WASHINGTON, DC ​— The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) and its Board of Directors have announced Jeanne Alford as the organization’s new executive director. Alford brings more than 20 years of experience to the position in a broad spectrum of fields, including public relations, communications, marketing and consulting.
“Jeanne brings a unique combination of personal and professional experience, making her an excellent selection to serve as the SCAA’s next executive director,” said Josh Fischer, chair of the SCAA Board of Directors. “We are excited to see the future growth for SCAA and our membership with Jeanne’s vision and leadership.”
Alford assumed the position as executive director earlier in June and is currently in the process of assuming full duties from past-executive director and SCAA co-founder, Richard Brown. Over the next several weeks, Brown and Alford will work together to ensure a seamless transition of leadership responsibilities.
Alford has extensive experience in developing and executing marketing and awareness campaigns for organizations such as Dolby Laboratories, Visa USA and the Semiconductor Industry Association. Her background includes public relations, social media, issues management, crisis communications and international brand development. She currently works as an independent senior communications consultant, coach and trainer. Additionally, sudden cardiac arrest touched Alford personally when her sister, former SCAA chair Mary Tappe, survived SCA in 2004.
“I believe in the importance of the SCA story. It is critical to many beyond the medical community: patients, family members, human resources and corporate safety teams to name just a few,” said Alford. “I know firsthand that the general public may not understand SCA. Until my sister suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, we as a family did not know what SCA was. She, thankfully, survived and we now know that SCA runs in our extended family. Thus, my personal interest in amplifying SCA awareness and continuing the impact that the SCAA can make across the United States and beyond. I am honored to serve as SCAA’s new executive director and helping to fulfill the organization’s mission to reduce preventable deaths from sudden cardiac arrest.”
Alford holds a Bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of California – Davis. She has also received the Gold Quill award from the International Association of Business Communicators, and is a member of the USTA NorCal Marketing Leadership Council.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) launches Online Store

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) has launched an online store (AEDStore.org) which sells Defibrillators (AEDs) and related equipment as well as Recognition/Award items.  The store features products at competitive prices from all the major manufacturers of AEDs.  The Recognition items including pins, military/police- style bars and certificates are meant for:

SCAA chapters are very active in their local communities building awareness about sudden cardiac arrest.  They also work to raise funds to purchase AEDs for use in public places such as houses of worships, civic organization facilities, and schools.  In addition, chapters recognize, through awards, those who have survived this debilitating condition, those who helped to save someone suffering an SCA and those who have an ICD implant.

With this new store, SCAA can better support its chapters as they shop for AEDs and supplies. The store, open to the public, also features a special pricing for SCAA chapters.

“The SCAA goal is to prevent unnecessary death from sudden cardiac arrest. Providing AEDs to the public through AEDstore.org is another step to reaching that goal, said Jeanne Alford, SCAA Executive Director. “We recognize that we have many choices in AED providers and, through our store, will continue our efforts to help those providers and SCAA achieve ubiquitous access to this lifesaving device.”   



June 1-June 7, 2018

During this week, we ask all our SCAA Chapters, members and friends to remind others that a prompt call to 911 and the immediate use of CPR and an AED saves lives that might otherwise be lost to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)!  We are proud that SCAA and other organizations have contributed to the growing awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the robust deployment of AEDs over the last ten years.  The public is much more aware now than ever before of what an AED is and what it is used for.  But this knowledge is by no means fully imbedded in the public and the presence of AEDS for ready deployment is not ubiquitous.  So, we ask all to spread the word once again in your communities.

As more and more lives are being saved through alert responses through CPR and AED utilization, SCAA has also turned its attention to those who have survived an SCA or who have been implanted with an internal defibrillator (ICD) and to the family members of both groups.  We have established our national COPE line so all those affected by an SCA or an implant of an ICD can have someone to talk to about the manifold issues associated with these events.  If you or a family member has been involved in an SCA incident or have been implanted, please call the number below and you will be contacted by someone who is knowledgeable and has had a similar experience.  This person will be able to answer many of your questions, address your concerns or put you in contact with others that can speak to you about issues that may be beyond their knowledge.

1-855-COPE-SCA (1-855-267-3722)


October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month

We are asking our Chapters to promote Awareness of SCA in  their communities and states by reproducing our new SCA COPE Brochure and distributing it to cardiologists, electro-physiologists and hospitals--so they can in turn, give the brochure to their patients. The Cope-Line program is working very well, aiding survivors and ICD implantees and their family members in coping with their new status as a Survivor or Implantee or one of their loved-ones. 
The new brochure has been made possible by Bonnie Beach and UW Health which is the integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison serving more than 600,000 patients each year in the Upper Midwest and beyond. The brochures are being distributed in the UW hospital network which is our largest single distribution effort to date.
The brochure is editable, so Mary can edit your local contact name and number in.  Please download it at a local printer of your choosing and help others become more aware of SCA and help others COPE, as well.
We are also please to announce that certain chapter leaders and our Board members are receiving the beta version this month of our online store which we plan to roll out to the public in November. The site will help with distribution of AEDs through our chapters and directly to the public.  
Mary Tappe, Chairperson


1-855-COPE-SCA (1-855-267-3722)


ACCESS—The SCAA COPE-LINE is now operational. SEE the COPE tab on this SCAA website for more information on how to access the COPE-LINE.

WHO IS IT FOR?—The COPE-LINE is for Survivors of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and ICD Implantees or family members of either group.  It offers an opportunity to speak live with someone who is a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest and/or has been implanted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, commonly called an ICD or an internal defibrillator.

WHO WILL YOU TALK WITH?—The caller will not receive medical advice, but will be able to talk with a Survivor or Implantee who has experienced a similar situation, is familiar with many of the issues surrounding coping with sudden cardiac arrest or ICD implantation, and has talked with many other people who have arrested or been implanted.

COPE-LINE A KEY ELEMENT IN A NEW LINK IN THE CHAIN OF SURVIVAL—The COPE-LINE has been created to implement another effective link in the Chain of Survival

The Chain of Survival

Call 911—Effective, early, bystander CPR—Rapid defibrillation (AED)—Effective advanced life support—Integrated post resuscitation care—COPING with the consequences.

Continue reading . . .

steve johnston 

     Date of Birth:
     Monday, June 11, 1956
     Date of Death:
     Wednesday, May 31, 2017
     60 years old



Former SCAA Board member Steven James Johnston, age 60 died of a heart attack on May 31st, at his home in Rochester, MN. Steve was involved with SCAA since its infancy and provided insight and passion to our Board deliberations and to the organization as a whole. He was instrumental in creating our Recognition program for Rescuers and Survivors of SCAA.

Steve is survived by the love his life of 28 years, Connie, and two adoring children: Matthew, Jennifer and her husband Scott, who he loved like a son. He leaves behind four siblings and many nieces and nephews. Steve is preceded in death by his parents: Gordon and Bettie Johnston and two siblings.

Steve made incredible contributions to society during his 35 year career in Law Enforcement. He started working at age 16 as a dispatcher for the Tracy Police Department.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and Corrections from Mankato State University, graduating magna cum laude. He then accepted a position as a patrol officer with the Rochester Police Department. Over the years he moved up the ranks and ended his career as Deputy Chief. Steve attended the FBI National Academy and a graduate program in Law Enforcement Administration.

One of Steve’s greatest contributions was development of the Early Defibrillation Program. This is a police-based defibrillation program that is now considered the most effective program in the world.  In Rochester alone, it has saved the lives of more than 250 people. Steve dedicated a lot of his time and energy helping other police departments around the world implement similar life-saving programs. His influence and efforts in raising funds for defibrillators and training for police officers is unprecedented, and has helped save thousands of lives each year.

Steve had many other significant career accomplishments, far too many to list, but to name a few; he automated the issuance of parking citations and warrants, constructed the Animal Control Shelter, developed the Communications Unit, obtained $200,000+ in grant funding for automatic vehicle location equipment, testified before the MN Legislature to help get funding for the purchase of defibrillators for the MN State Patrol, drafted and helped enact MN Statue 609.505 subdivision 2 making it a crime to falsely accuse police of misconduct, and upgraded Rochester’s 9-1-1 system. As a true public servant, he was an avid volunteer, served on many boards, committees, and took on several leadership roles within those organizations.

Most importantly, Steve was a devoted Christian and loving husband, father, brother and uncle.  He loved helping friends, family, and even strangers however he could.  He was extremely humble and his kindness and dedication to others was second to none. Steve had an amazing sense of humor and loved to joke around.

Public visitation will be held Tuesday, June 6 at the Autumn Ridge Timothy Chapel 3611 Salem Road SW, Rochester, from 5-7 pm and one hour before the funeral service held at 11 am on Wednesday, June 7 in the main auditorium of Autumn Ridge Church. Memorials may be made to the family who will disperse among his favorite causes.

Online condolences are welcome at www.mackenfuneralhome.com


Woman Thanks Paramedics Who Saved Her Life

Stephanie Gavshon contacted the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) COPE-LINE and spoke with Mary Tappe, a fellow sudden cardiac arrest survivor. Mary talked at length with Stephanie, discussing those feeling that other survivors intuitively understand. Stephanie was very interested in hearing how her rescuer's would greatly appreciate being thanked in person, given such a small percentage of people survive sudden cardiac arrest. SCAA provided the certificates and medals that Stephanie provided to her paramedics. SCAA is very happy to have played a very small part in helping Stephanie and her family recover. If you know of anyone impacted by sudden cardiac arrest, please have them call SCAA's peer-to-peer COPE-LINE at 1-855-COPE-SCA (1-855-267-3722

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Sharing an article from our Michigan Chapter


Contact Information

SCAA phone number  1-855-317-7222
Jeanne Alford, Executive Director
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Mike Tighe

November 19, 1998, started off as a terrific day for me. A few days earlier I had submitted my request for early retirement from Boston Public Health Commission.

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SCAA members are diverse and include SCA survivors, individuals with ICDs, family and friends of survivors and ICD patients, first responders, healthcare and public safety professionals, industry representatives, government officials, and interested and concerned citizens.

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