November 18, 1998 was the day Erin E. Herring started on her journey into the world of physicians, hospitals and fear; that was the day her son Gavin was born. He was diagnosed with aortic stenosis and would have to have surgery before is two week birthday. And so it began…
After a year and six different surgeries, she finally thought she could exhale…nothing could have been further from the truth. Erin participated in her first AHA Fairfield County Heart Walk when Gavin was 3 years old. The next year, Gavin participated as the Red Cap Ambassador for the walk and two years later, Gavin and his sisters, Hannah and Brennah traveled to Washington DC to lobby for increased funding for heart disease. A year later, Erin and Gavin were back on Capitol Hill meeting with senators and legislators as a unified voice for increased funding. Along the way she met with many survivors as well as those who had lost a loved ones to heart disease or stroke. The stories were life changing.
Erin was very active as an advocate in Washington and Hartford, speaking at congressional and legislative hearings on passing the law which requires AED’s in places of business and schools. After four years, the bill was finally passed and she and Gavin were at the signing to thank then Governor Rell personally for her support. She is passionate about this mission and continues to advocate for CPR and AED training. Erin was a trained member of the Emergency Management Team for the City of Norwalk and praises the City for recently providing AED’s not only at the schools, but at various other sites in the city making it a “Heart Safe Community”.
Just recently, Erin was told she had suffered a “mini-stroke” and her advocacy for raising awareness strengthened. Her credo, so to speak, has always been “if it hadn’t been for funds raised in the past, my son might not have had a future…” and she still stands by that today. Her mom is a survivor, her son, and now she, herself is grateful to be one as well.