Giving the gift of life

By Magen Kritsch | Daily Journal
For The Republic
The Edinburgh teen still thinks about what happened the day another teen collapsed on a baseball diamond.
In June, Sean Bacha was attending the government simulation, Hoosier Boys State, when one of their peers collapsed. Bacha and another teen jumped in and administered CPR. The actions of the Edinburgh Community High School senior and his friend were hailed as lifesaving.
Bacha took what he learned from that experience and is now helping his community.
He raised nearly $5,000 to be used to buy three Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, for various organizations in his town. The devices can shock the heart and help revive someone who has had a cardiac incident.
The teen who Bacha helped at Hoosier Boy’s State was later diagnosed with athletic heart syndrome. That day, his heart stopped beating for about 30 minutes, Bacha said.
Bacha began to wonder what would have happened if the field they were playing on had an AED, he said.
“I still think about what could have been,” Bacha said.
When students in his community service club were tasked with coming up with a project that would help the community, outfitting several organizations with AEDS seemed like the perfect project for Bacha to tackle, his mother, Kami Ervin said.
“It was very clear that there were a few major organizations that could use them,” she said. “He wanted to take that experience that had an impact on him and find a way to bring that kind of awareness to the community.”
First Bacha identified which entities in the community could use an AED.
An AED is available when sports teams are competing at the schools. However, a coach helping a student-athlete during practice would have to run to the school to get an AED, likely taking more time than an ambulance, Bacha said.
The athletics fields now have one.
He also picked the Wright-Hageman Public Library because it was at the center of town, allowing most of the town to get to it quickly.
Edinburgh’s peewee football league received the third one, since they often practice and play in rural areas, where emergency medical treatment may not be immediately available, he said.
“If a kid my age could have a cardiac episode like that, who is to say a younger (person) couldn’t have one?” Bacha said. “It is way easier to use an AED than to teach someone how to do CPR on the fly.”
And having the devices throughout the town enables anyone who needs access to one to be able to get one, he said.
“An AED, literally anyone could use,” he said.
Bacha priced AEDS and found that they were expensive. They found a dealer who would sell them for about $1,500 each.
Bacha then sent out fundraising letters to businesses and got about half the money he needed in a little over a week, he said.
A Youth Philanthropy Initiative grant of $500 helped, and other money started trickling in for the project, Ervin said.
“I don’t know how; it all just showed up,” she said.
Once he had the money to cover the cost of the three AEDS, he had about $500 extra, which was donated to the Special Olympics of Johnson County, a cause Bacha has volunteered with.