First Responder Program: "Saving the Saviors"
It's always hard when you lose a family member or friend at a young age, no matter what the reason. It really hits home when we lose another person to heart disease. For most of us, we don't even know we have it until we have a heart attack or, worse, our family finds out after we have become another victim to it.
Last year, we lost our friend Ed Holler at age 52 from this silent killer. Many people in our area knew Ed ... many of us called him friend.
It was a shock to his family and to everyone who knew him.
But, his story did not end there. Because of Ed's premature death to a massive heart attack, his three brothers took proactive steps and each received a coronary artery calcium scan. All three were diagnosed with heart disease with one of the brothers receiving immediate intervention which prevented an impending heart attack. It is an all all too familiar story of someone who seemed otherwise healthy and fit unaware they have a potentially deadly disease. That is why we make early detection a top priority in our work.
When we were contacted by Ed's brother Dean Holler about The Heart2Heart Foundation creating a special program in his memory, we were honored that we could remember our friend in this way. When we decided to create a new program to serve our First Responders, we were incredibly grateful for the opportunity because we understand that about half of the deaths among these brave men and women are from heart disease. In addition to our signature programs, we are now launching efforts to help "save the saviors."
At our Queen of Hearts Gala in February, we will be launching the Ed Holler Memorial Campaign. Contributions to this fund will underwrite this program for York County. At the end of this one-year pilot program, our goal is to have a replicatable Evidence Based Intervention that can be implemented in any community to help improve the heart health of not only our first responders but their families.
We are so excited to have a collaborative partnership with Carolina Cardiology Associates and we've assembled a team of dedicated health care professionals and advisors to help our program participants succeed! If we can prevent one heart attack, keep one more loved one from dying prematurely from this disease and help our first responders live healthier lives ...
it will be a tremendous way to honor Ed's life.
Why first responders?
Sudden cardiac events account for around 45% of fire-fighter related deaths in the US.
The prevalance of obesity among firefighers in one study was at 51.7%
Traditional risk factors are valuable in identifying those at risk for CVD however there is a stated need to use nontraditonal screening such as CRP tests and Coronary Artery Calcium Scans.
“Since firefighters are a unique occupational group who experience the highest rate of duty-related deaths due to sudden cardiac events, and who perform public safety work that may be jeopardized if they are suddenly incapacitated, the use of CAC scoring may provide information that outweighs negative factors such as the cost of the scan and exposure to radiation.”
“According to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Cambridge Health Alliance, police officers in the United States face a 30 to 70 times higher risk of sudden cardiac death when they’re involved in stressful situations when compared with the risks during routine or nonemergency activities.”
Our one-year pilot program will provide advance screenings, risk assessments and lifestyle coaching at no charge for first responders located in York County, South Carolina who meet the following critera. The program has been developed through the collaboration of The Heart2Heart Foundation and Carolina Cardiology Associates along with health care and wellness professionals.
Women and men, age 35 and older
No prior history of cardiac diagnosis or event
Cannot be pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the program
Cannot be on insulin treatment for diabetes
Must serve in York County with fire, police, sheriff or EMS services
$5K Matching Grant provided by