CHICAGO – Glori Huse and Dr. Henry Shin may not look like heroes, but they are. Last summer, they gave Ted Johnson a second chance at life when they used CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restore Ted’s heart to a normal rhythm until emergency help arrived.
   On February 14, the American Heart Association will honor Huse, Shin and 12 other Chicago area heroes who saved a life using CPR or an AED at its first annual American Heartsaver Day celebration. From 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Hotel Allegro, 171 West Randolph, Chicago, these hometown heroes — along with many of the people they saved — will be recognized at a breakfast award reception for their willingness to take action in a life-or-death situation. The American Heart Association will also issue a call to action to all Chicago residents to become American Heartsavers by learning the warning signs of heart attack and cardiac arrest, calling 911 in a cardiac emergency, and giving CPR until emergency help arrives.

   Each Heartsaver came to the rescue of an individual who was in sudden cardiac arrest, which is most often caused by an irregular heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. This irregular rhythm causes the heart’s electrical impulses to become chaotic, causing the victim to collapse and lose consciousness. Unless a normal heart rhythm is restored, death will follow in a matter of minutes. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that for every minute without defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by 7-10 percent.

   Photo and interview opportunities will be plentiful at the reception as cardiac arrest survivors and their loved ones extend a heartfelt thanks to their lifesaving heroes. A demonstration on what to do during sudden cardiac arrest — call 911, give CPR and use an AED if available — will reinforce to attendees the importance of being prepared during a cardiac emergency.

   "The American Heart Association is proud to recognize our hometown heroes on American Heartsaver Day," said David H. Cooke, M.D., president of the American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate. "The heroes that we will honor are ordinary individuals who have truly done extraordinary things. By learning how to give CPR and use an AED, all Chicago area residents can arm themselves with the tools necessary to become American Heartsavers."

   In addition to recognizing local Heartsavers, the American Heart Association will also honor the achievements of community leaders and elected officials who have worked toward strengthening the chain of survival. The American Heart Association defines the four links in the chain of survival as early access to an effective 911 emergency medical services system, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced medical care.

   Mayor and Mrs. Richard M. Daley will receive an award for their instrumental work in the initial placement of two AEDs at O’Hare International Airport in 1996.