DOWNINGTOWN (November 26, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently attended the Aidan’s Heart Screening event at the Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center. The event, hosted by Aidan’s Heart Foundation, provided free heart screening tests and CPR training to students of all ages.
“Heart health is one of the most pressing issues in adolescents, and Aidan’s Heart Foundation not only raises awareness of this issue, but directly steps up to help save lives, too,” Dinniman, who serves as the Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “I’m always happy to express my support for student health in our schools and communities.”
Aidan’s Heart Foundation was founded by Christy Silva and her family in 2010 after tragically losing her young son, Aidan, to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The nonprofit organization aims to save lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
By the end of the event, 132 students had received free EKG heart screenings – and 18 of them were identified for abnormal results. An abnormal EKG reading is not always a sign of an unhealthy heart but could lead to additional tests to ensure the irregularities are safe.
The event had multiple stations for students and families to participate in. One focused on giving youth CPR-training. Another initiative focused on writing cards to both soldiers serving overseas and pediatric patients in hospitals.
Since its inception, Aidan’s Heart Foundation has screened over 1,800 youth, identifying “potentially life-threatening” heart conditions in approximately 20 youth.
Dinniman first became involved with the foundation in 2014, through his work to pass Act 35. The legislation, also known as “Aidan’s Law” calls for the Commonwealth to create a registry of AEDs in public and private schools, including their age and condition. And to assist schools without AEDs or with outdated AEDs, the Commonwealth will biennially issue an RFP for AEDs, negotiate a bulk-rate price, and then provide them to schools at cost.
To further lessen the cost for school districts, the legislation allows school districts to use Pennsylvania Accountability Grants and Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) funds to purchase AEDs. The bill also gives the General Assembly the discretion to annually set aside funds to further assist school districts in purchasing AEDs.
This fall, Dinniman and his fellow senators unanimously passed Senate Bill 836, which seeks to increase EKG testing in student-athletes to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
“From Aidan’s Law to Senate Bill 836, we are constantly pushing forward to get students the best heart care possible in hospitals, in schools, and during extra-curricular and youth sports activities,” Dinniman said.