$1,200 donation goest toward providing an AED device to an area school.
By Andy Furman, NKyTribune reporter
It was born out of tragedy.
Cameron’s Cause is a foundation that started in March of 2011. Less than a year before – October, 2010 – Laura and Dave Batson experienced the worst tragedy in their family’s history.
Their 18-year-old son, Cameron Batson died of a sudden cardiac event during a pickup soccer game at Scott High School.
Dave Batson and wife Laura were guests at the Covington Rotary Club, Tuesday and told their gut-wrenching story to an open-mouthed crowd at the Radisson Hotel.
“Cameron was playing pick-up soccer with his younger brother,” Dave remembered like it was yesterday, “Within a few short minutes of Cameron’s collapse, he was gone.”
The cause of death, Dave recalled, was an undiagnosed hearty ailment called ARVD (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia) causing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
“And a few days later,” Dave said, “15-year-old Logan (his only other sibling) was also diagnosed with the condition.”
Early detection for Logan has changed his life in many ways. “We immediately stopped him from athletic participation,” Dave said.
Logan currently has an implantable defibrillator inside his chest to detect and treats any life-threatening heart rhythms, according to Dave. Although, his physical active is limited he has had to alter this way of life.
Dave and Laura Batson have also altered their way of life.
“Our goals are to build awareness around protecting young hearts and to provide Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to area school systems, sports venues and event facilities to lower the chances of death,” Laura told the Northern Kentucky Tribune .
Responding quickly to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) patients with a defibrillator can make the difference between life and death, Laura said. When defibrillation is administered within the first few minutes of a SCA victim’s collapse, the chances of survival increase tremendously.
“The single greatest factor affecting survival is the time from cardiac arrest to defibrillation (shock),” she said.
And perhaps the greatest exposure of SCA occurred right here in Cincinnati, when the Bengals hosted the Bufdfalo Bills, in a Monday Night Football game, January 2nd.
Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle during the first quarter of that game.
CPR was performed on Hamlin when he lost his pulse and needed to be revived through resuscitation and defibrillation.
He has since been cleared to resume football activities after it was determined his cardiac arrest was caused by commotio cordis, which can occur when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical; charge and causes dangerous fibrillations.
Buffalo Bills players took CPR training at the team facility this spring. They also learned how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) to help save lives.
“After the (Damar) Hamlin incident,” Laura said, “Our phone rang off the hook. People, make that the entire nation, actually saw what we already were talking about.”
The number one goal, says Laura Batson, is donating AEDs. In fact, she said she didn’t know much about AEDs prior to the tragedy.
An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, medical; device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
“Our number one goal,” Laura said, “Was getting AEDs to be required in all schools in the Commonwealth.”
That bill was passed and went into effect July 1st of this year, she said. Every Middle School and high school are now required to furnish an AED, thanks to the efforts of the Batson’s.
“There must be a plan in case of an emergency, as well as training,” she said. “Schools will have two years to get their plans together.”
Laura’s next goal is introducing the AED in the school, and teaching at a young age. “We need to make the teaching process fun and not intimidating or scary for young children.”
Laura remembers – “There wasn’t an AED present on that field when Cameron went down and that was the hardest news to get – that possibly if an AED was present, he could be here today.”
Presently, Cameron’s Cause has given well over 100 AEDs in Northern Kentucky. “We have organizations — soccer clubs, even the Erlanger Lions reaching out to us,” Laura said. The field where Cameron passed is now named after him – Cameron Kelly Batson Field.
The number of AEDs in Northern Kentucky has just increased by at least one – the Rotary Club of Covington surprised Dave and Laura Batson with a check for $1,200 – the average price of an AED, after their Tuesday speech.
“This AED will be a gift to Holmes Middle School,” Laura said. “We wanted a Covington school,” she said, “And we were told Holmes Middle School needed it the most.”
One more life may be saved.