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Shelby Township

Eisenhower marching band wins portable defibrillator

The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation raises AED awareness

October 7, 2013

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The Eisenhower High School marching band’s nurse, Lisa Moreton, of Shelby Township, stands behind her son, Nicholas, 21, who was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in 2008 as a sophomore at Eisenhower. The marching band obtained a portable automated external defibrillator by winning the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation’s summer camp scavenger hunt.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Eisenhower High School’s marching band received a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) by winning the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation’s (CCF) inaugural #mycampAED scavenger hunt, a national contest geared toward raising awareness of pediatric cardiomyopathy and AED use in summer camps.

Cardiomyopathy is a rare and incurable heart disease involving the deterioration of the heart muscle, which eventually leads to the heart’s inability to supply the body with enough blood, according to CCF. AEDs can prevent sudden cardiac death by stabilizing the heartbeat.

Lisa Moreton, the Eisenhower band nurse, learned of the opportunity through her involvement with CCF, since her son, Nicholas, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy — or an enlarged heart — when he was a sophomore at Eisenhower in 2008. The scavenger hunt asks participants to send a picture of their camp’s AED.

She sent in a photo of her daughter Erica, 17, a senior at Eisenhower and marching band flutist, with the AED located in the infirmary at Camp Walden in Cheboygan, Mich., where the Eisenhower marching band holds its summer band camp.

The band’s summer camp AED is stationary and Moreton said she feels much more comfortable having the portable AED because the band practices outside in the hot sun for hours every day for a week during camp, and the camp’s location is remote.

Joanne Bloomstein, communication and development coordinator for CCF, said a dozen different summer camps entered, from soccer camps to day camps to YMCA camps, including the Chicago Bears’ summer training camp.

Moreton said her daughter made it her mission to discover where all six of her high school’s AEDs were located and to raise awareness of cardiomyopathy since her brother was diagnosed, but all of the AEDs are stationary and not situated near the band room.

She said the portable AED would also provide an added element of safety to outdoor practices and competitions, and that the band director will install a special hook for the device in the band room.

“Hopefully, we never have to use it,” she said. “The thought of losing my son was just beyond what I could imagine.”

Moreton said she used to fear that her son would never graduate high school or drive a car. Now, Nicholas is 21 and a senior at the University of Detroit Mercy. Moreton said his heart size is normal, and he is off a few of his medications.

October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness month, and CCF is continuing its efforts to raise awareness and prevent deaths from cardiomyopathy.

Lisa Yue, the founder of CCF, said that cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death on school property, and a student athlete falls victim to sudden cardiac arrest every three-four days.

Yue said that, often, youth have the disease but have not been formally diagnosed because they do not have obvious symptoms, which include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and dizziness or fainting.

She said that school locations with a survival plan have an increased survival rate of 64 percent, and that a defibrillator is critical in a situation of sudden cardiac arrest. She said the survival rate is as high as 49 percent when an AED is used and as low as 5 percent when it is not.

“We had a great partner with One Beat CPR who donated the Philips AED,” she said. “(The Eisenhower marching band) needed the device but did not have the funds to purchase the device that will hopefully protect a child at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.”

Yue launched the foundation with her husband in 2002 after two of their sons died from cardiomyopathy when they were infants. CCF aims to raise awareness, provide education and training, and conduct research on pediatric cardiomyopathy.

For photos of the #mycampAED scavenger hunt, follow CCF on Instagram at ccfheartkids. To learn more about pediatric cardiomyopathy or the CCF’s efforts, including a bipartisan bill, visit

About the author

Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News. Sarah has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Oakland University. She won a first place 2013 Excellence in Journalism award for open government reporting and a second place 2014 Excellence in Journalism award for a series of explanatory stories from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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