Family wants automated external defibrillators at parks throughout Kansas City

A Northland mother and her two sons are on a mission to put automated external defibrillators, or A.E.D.s, in public parks throughout Kansas City.

The Henning family hosted a golf tournament Friday at Staley Farms Golf Club with a goal to purchase 100 A.E.D.s and install them throughout youth athletic facilities and parks around the metro.

Last year, Tim Henning died when he went into cardiac arrest at his son's little league baseball game in the Northland. The park didn't have any A.E.D devices. Denise Henning says even though another parent on the team was a doctor, the adults didn't have the life saving equipment they needed.

Denise Henning believes it could have saved her husband's life, or at least given him a fighting chance.

"We do not want anyone to go through what we've gone through in the last year. We want A.E.D.s to be readily accessible and available to anyone that might have trouble and its not just adults that this can help," Henning explained. "It can also be kids. Especially in ballparks a lot of times kids get hit with the ball. In fact, last week in Colorado a child was hit with a ball and went into cardiac arrest, and they saved him with an A.E.D."

Friday Meredith Lockard, an A.E.D. representative demonstrated how easily anyone could use one of the portable, lightweight systems. The machine voices instructions on how to use the device and how many compressions to give to the victim.

Lockard explained even children can use them to save an adult's life.

"It's absolutely foolproof. She (the machine) prompts you with every single thing you need to do. The fear factor needs to be removed. It can't shock you, or the patient, if the heart can't receive the shock. It literally takes the guesswork out of it," Lockard said.

The Henning family hopes to raise $150,000 to buy 100 A.E.D.s and pay for the maintenance and upkeep on the devices.

Cardiac arrest is one of the leading killers of adult men and women. 60 percent of heart patients could have been saved with an A.E.D., according to Lockard.

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