DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - A Mid-South family is making it their mission to save lives. Their goal: that no one die a preventable death from heart failure. They're working to distribute as many defibrillators as they can buy.
The family is donating several of the machines to DeSoto County Schools.
When someone's heart stops from sudden cardiac arrest they need more than CPR. They need to be treated with a defibrillator. Now every middle school in DeSoto County will have one.
"This will make 16," says Dawn Cartwright, of the Automatic External Defibrillators, or AEDs, that she and her daughter Dr. Courtney Cartwright have donated.
"We know that we're saving lives, this is huge," says Courtney.
"To use them is simple. Even a seven year old can do it," adds Dawn.
"With an AED present you don't even have to initiate CPR," Courtney says. "You just get the AED and go straight to shocking while you're dialing 911. It's absolutely life saving."
Dawn Cartwright's son Sean died when his heart stopped five years ago. "My son was at Ole Miss studying for finals," Dawn says. "If there had been an AED and a witness there that had known CPR, he could have been saved. So it's our mission to teach CPR, to get knowledge into the community and to buy AEDs and place them everywhere."
The two's latest donations are going into DeSoto schools.
Eight defibrillators are being placed in all the county's middle schools. Another will be at Sean's former high school in Hernando.
"It's an amount of security for our players here that, unless you've been in that situation before, I don't think anybody can really fathom," says Coach Danny Forbes. He understands the significance. He not only coaches at Hernando High School, he was friends with Sean, there the night he died.
"We both went to high school and grew up together here in Hernando. Then we went to college together and were roommates," Forbes says.
"We'd like to help anywhere," Dawn adds. "And anywhere that would like one should let us know and we'll help work towards that goal. Our goal is to place them everywhere."
If you'd like to help the Cartwright's cause you can donate to the Mid-South Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. Contact Cartwright at 901-598-9906 or email email@example.com.