S.C.A.R.F Rhythm of Life Gala Increases Awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death awareness
Schaumburg IL: More than 530 guests attended the 2nd Rhythm of Life Gala hosted by The Sudden Cardiac-death Awareness Research Foundation (S.C.A.R.F.), an annual fundraising event which aims to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest on July 27 at the Chicago Marriott in Schaumburg Illinois.
“While S.C.A.R.F. has accomplished so much over the years, we still have a long way to go. Sudden cardiac arrest remains the number one cause of death in the United States and is responsible for more than 550,000 lives lost each year. Awareness surrounding the issue is vital because this number continues to rise,” said Rubina Nguyen, co-founder of S.C.A.R.F.
“We have nearly doubled in size in the past year and are grateful for the tremendous support we received from individuals, community groups, local and national organizations,” Nguyen added.
The event highlights the achievements of S.C.A.R.F.’s automated external defibrillators (AEDs) donation program which provides free AEDs for nonprofit organizations, including schools, park districts, places of worship, and charitable organizations. Through its AED donation program, S.C.A.R.F has approved 16 Chicago area facilities to receive an AED free of cost, thus far this year.
“AEDs, when applied before the arrival of emergency medical services, can nearly triple a person’s chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. By increasing the number of AEDs in the community and increasing the number of citizens trained in their use, we can significantly impact cardiac arrest survival rates,” said Dr. Sarah Alfano Director of Clinical Information at S.C.A.R.F.
The evening represented the culmination of the 2019 S.C.A.R.F. Mentorship and Career Guidance Program which hosted 50 high school and college-age interns, their largest mentorship class to date.
The 8-week mentorship program provides an opportunity for Chicago area students to research health care topics, round with cardiology and electrophysiology physicians, and participate in community awareness events during their summer vacation months.
The core goal of the program is to provide exposure to medicine while promoting the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the community all while gaining professional skills that can carry them through any educational or career path.
Each year student ambassadors present their research via poster presentation to a team of judges. This year’s winning project, R.E.S.T. was on the topic of sleep apnea was created by Shalin Kadakia, Shravi Kothari, and Ananya Sehgal.
“The most common hours of sudden cardiac arrest are between midnight and 6:00 AM” says Dr. Paul Nguyen, founder of S.C.A.R.F. “This is why having a foundational knowledge of sleep apnea is critical towards our mission.”
Co-founders Rubina and Paul Nguyen awarded the Dr. Harvinder Sareen Scholarship to student ambassador Morish Shah for her outstanding achievements and contribution to the mentorship class.
Dr. Sowmya Anjur of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy was the recipient of the S.C.A.R.F. educational grant.
S.C.A.R.F. has launched a new program for students who are not yet of age to participate in the Mentorship and Career Guidance Program, S.C.A.R.F. junior. SCARF junior is an introductory camp designed for youth participants between the ages of 10 – 13 to learn about the anatomy and physiology of the heart, professionalism, healthy lifestyles, and how to plan their career paths from an early age. Students also participate in a heart dissection and become officially CPR/AED certified by the end of camp.
For more information about S.C.A.R.F.s’ AED donation and mentorship programs or if you know of an organization that would benefit from an AED, please visit www.scarfnow.org to apply.