Survivor Celebrations and Advocacy
A survivor celebration can be a wonderful event for your community. They serve myriad purposes: celebration of the second chance at life accorded the survivors, with an opportunity to thank their rescuers; promoting awareness of sudden cardiac arrest among members of the community; and bringing a community together at all levels to celebrate awe-inspiring accomplishments.
Often EMS is the catalyst for organizing a survivor celebration. Survivors often present themselves to EMS providers to meet them and thank them. This offers a great opportunity to invite them to an organized event. The best survivor celebrations focus on the survivors first and foremost, and the rescuers both professional and bystander, second. They are non-denominational, without agency identification or boundaries, and all inclusive. Families, hospital personnel, EMS personnel, 911 dispatchers, police, fire, and bystanders are among the most common attendees.
Planning a celebration
Like any gathering, it is about the people who attend–not the food, drink, door prizes or entertainment. While it is important to understand that some survivors may choose to decline, ensuring that all survivors have the opportunity to attend and plenty of time to network with each other if they wish is critical.
SCA Survivor Groups and Advocacy
Survivor groups can provide a focal point for members to inform the public about sudden cardiac arrest. There are a number of advocacy activities that can help to improve survival from SCA within a community.
Some activities that survivor groups can support include:
- Sharing survivor stories. This can have powerful influence on the public and be leveraged to challenge the public to learn CPR and place AEDs in their neighborhoods.
- Increasing awareness of SCA using media campaigns and fund raisers such as sports competitions. Funds raised can be used to purchase AEDs for local businesses or churches.
- Taking an active role in providing CPR training and in encouraging citizens to provide bystander CPR.