More LaPorte County police officers will have access to lifesaving AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) in their patrol vehicles thanks to funds raised through the second annual Bolt for the Heart 5K Family Run/Walk and inaugural Half Marathon.
Officials will gather at 10AM on Thursday, Nov. 19, at Franciscan Health Michigan City for the donation of 29 AEDs to the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and four more AEDs to the Long Beach Police Department. This continues the work of the 29 AEDs donated through the Bolt for the Heart event in 2019.
Bolt for the Heart President Pierre M. Twer thanked the generous support of those who made the donation possible, including race participants, presenting sponsor Franciscan Health, the Play for Jake Foundation and Performance Services.
“Our goal is to place one AED in every law enforcement patrol car in LaPorte County. Thanks to you, in LaPorte county we have placed an AED in every Indiana State Police, LaPorte County Sheriff and Long Beach Police patrol car. We will continue working on the LaPorte and Michigan City police departments next year,” Twer said. “Many lives have been saved by the AEDs placed and many more right here in LaPorte County will be saved in the future.”
Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni said, “Franciscan Health is honored to support our local law enforcement and this worthy endeavor with great partners like the Bolt for the Heart organization, the Play for Jake Foundation and Performance Services. With heart-related health events, every second counts, and by having these devices in the vehicles of first responders, more lives can be saved in our community.”
Organizers of the Bolt for the Heart race, held on Sept. 27 at Washington Park in Michigan City, had to adjust to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 285 participants, including 30 half marathon runners, were kept safe through masking, hand sanitation, staggered start times and distancing protocols approved by the LaPorte County Health Department. A virtual race option was also available.
Race day highlights included a performance of the National Anthem by the quartet Cripple Creek. Brooke Nack, Franciscan Health inpatient therapy manager, mobility program manager, took first place in the half marathon. The $8,000 in net race proceeds, along with sponsorships and additional donations, enabled the purchase of $49,500 in AEDs for LaPorte County first responders.
Bolt for the Heart is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that raises money through generous sponsors like Franciscan Health, donations and family 5Ks/half marathons to buy AEDs for first responders. Bolt has donated more than 2,000 AEDs, including 465 AEDs for the Indiana State Police, to date. For more information or to donate, go to www.boltfortheheart.com.
The Play For Jake Foundation is named in honor of Jake West, a LaPorte High School football player who passed away suddenly during practice from an undetected heart condition. The organization aims to increase awareness and educate parents and youth about the dangers of undetected heart conditions, a goal that goes together with Bolt for the Heart. For more information or to donate, go to playforjake.org.