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Girls hockey team raises funds for Newmarket's first outdoor defibrillator

'The girls hope this will inspire other businesses to get involved and help sponsor the placement of other outdoor SaveStations in high-traffic areas throughout our community,' CYGHA Orange Crush Hockey team manager says

Inspired by a high school student who saved a man's life in a Newmarket arena following his cardiac arrest, a local girls hockey team raised money for an automated extended defibrillator tower at Riverwalk Commons in downtown Newmarket. 

The Central York Girls Hockey Association’s (CYGHA) Orange Crush peewee team representatives, as well as their inspiration, Raychel Gillis, were on hand for the unveiling of the town's first outdoor SaveStation AED yesterday, July 29.

The defibrillator, which is located inside the free-standing tower, will be available 24/7 if needed in a cardiac emergency.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the members of the CYGHA Orange Crush Hockey team for their commitment to saving lives and for this generous donation that will make Newmarket safer,” Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said.

“In an emergency, every second counts and I am thankful that, if required, our community will have access to the AED located inside this outdoor SaveStation. Newmarket is one step closer to becoming a #cardiacsafe community,” he added. 

Team manager Trish Murphy said the team is excited about the installation of Newmarket’s first outdoor 24/7 SaveStation AED tower at Riverwalk Commons, thanks to their fundraising efforts.

She added the girls were inspired by the Chevy Good Deeds competition, as well as Gillis, who was a Grade 12 student who was scorekeeping at a hockey game when she leapt into action, using a defibrillator to save the life of her father's friend, George Padanyi.

Padanyi, who also attended the unveiling of the SaveStation, said he is happy to see the much needed first outdoor AED installed in York Region.

"The girls hope this will inspire other businesses to get involved and help sponsor the placement of other outdoor SaveStations in high-traffic areas throughout our community,” Murphy said. 

The SaveStation Tower, which lights up at night and is marked for public use, allows for 24/7 monitoring of the AED to ensure it is always "ready for rescue". When the cabinet is opened, a photograph is taken. The AED keeps warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

In addition to the new outdoor SaveStation at Riverwalk Commons, indoor AEDs are available for public use at the Magna Centre, Newmarket Municipal Offices, Ray Twinney Recreation Centre, Robert N. Shelton Operations Centre, Community Centre & Lions Hall, the Newmarket Youth Centre and Sk8 Park, the Newmarket Public Library, Newmarket Seniors' Meeting Place, Elman Campbell Museum, Gorman Outdoor Pool, Lawn Bowling Club and Art Ferguson Club House. 

In Canada, approximately 40,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year; the majority happening at home or in a public place.

Currently, only 10 per cent of people survive, but studies show that the immediate use of an AED combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can increase the likelihood of survival by 75 per cent.

You can learn more about SaveStation here and a crowdfunding platform to raise funds to place an AED in your community. 

For more information on the CYGHA Orange Crush Hockey team’s inspiration behind this initiative, view their Empowering People to Save Lives Video above. 

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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is the editor for AuroraToday and NewmarketToday. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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