Susan Canning, Massachusetts


Sue Canning became an advocate because of her son Kevin. Kevin was born on April 8, 1992. He was loved by everyone, because he didn’t take life too seriously and was always trying to make people laugh. Kevin started playing sports at three years old, starting with competitive hockey, and over the years baseball, lacrosse, golf and the Springfield Rifle Rugby Team. As many of Kevin’s teammates would tell you, his motto was “No Excuses, Play like a Champion”. Off the ice or field, Kevin would live by another motto: “Live Every Day, Laugh Every Moment, and Love beyond Words.”

Kevin had a big heart. Unfortunately on July 11, 2011, this physical “big heart” took Kevin’s life. After Kevin died, his family found out he had a “Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)." He had experienced no symptoms and the family never knew he had this condition.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 5,000 young people between 15 and 34 die annually from “Sudden Cardiac Arrest." The leading cause of death is HCM, an abnormally enlarged heart muscle. Because of what happened to Kevin, Sue started KEVS Foundation to sponsor cardiac screenings for young people in our community and to bring awareness and education around CPR and AED use.

Sue’s goals have always been to help raise awareness of “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” through education and cardiovascular screenings for young persons, and to provide state of the art Automatic Emergency Defibrillators (AED) and CPR in the community. Sue has become a tireless advocate around requiring coaches and students to know CPR. She has made phone calls, visits to her lawmakers, reached out to the press and has activated all her friends and family to do the same. She knows that Kevin could have suffered sudden cardiac arrest on a field or in a rink and she would have felt safer knowing that the coach was equipped with the knowledge of CPR. She also wonders if Kevin’s friends had known CPR, would they have been able to save him? She has become a strong voice around the issue of CPR and AEDs. and without her advocacy, we would not have passed critical legislation that requires all coaches in high schools to know CPR. Because of Sue's efforts and dedication to the issue, lives will be saved!

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