Oct. 17, 2013, the unimaginable happened to Jeff and Amy Schoen of
Grafton. Their 10-year-old son, Grant, died of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
According to Jeff, Grant wasnít feeling well and stayed home from
school that day. Grant took a nap, and when Jeff went to check on him,
he found his son wasnít breathing. Jeff immediately called 911.
know what happened at the time," says Jeff. "Something had
caused his heart to stop."
until February that an autopsy and toxicology report revealed that
Grant had died of SCA. Jeff did some research and found out that other
kids in the community had died of similar circumstances, so he decided
to do something to prevent other families from having to go through a
"I came up
with this idea of having a HeartSafe Wiscsonsin, an initiative in
which communities, as a whole, are certified to deal with a witnessed
cardiac emergency," explains Jeff.
Community initiative started more than 10 years ago with two doctors
in Massachusetts. Jeffís goal by the end of 2015 or early 2016 is to
have Cedarburg and Grafton be the first communities in Wisconsin to
have the HeartSafe certification.
Jeff, there are four important components to getting the
certification. The first is to have 10 percent of the two communities
(approximately 4,000 residents) be CPR trained. The other three deal
with 911 dispatch, EMS and hospital responses.
time consuming and requires a lot of volunteers, plus CPR
certification expires every two years, so itís pretty much a
full-time job to keep the population CPR trained," says Jeff.
Schoen family in this cause is Mike LaRosa, a CPR training officer for
the Cedarburg Fire Department with more than 10 years of experience.
to Jeff about a year ago, and he expressed his interest in doing
something where we got people educated in CPR training and the use of
AEDs (automated external defibrillators)," says LaRosa.
He believes the
Cedarburg and Grafton communities will be the first in the state to
achieve the designation because the Schoen family wanted to do
something positive with the grief of losing Grant.
made this a mission as part of Grantís legacy," said LaRosa.
"Itís a wonderful thing for the community."
information on this initiative and how you can get involved, visit