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Susan Canning, Massachusetts

Susan Canning became an advocate because of her son Kevin. Kevin was born on April 8, 1992.

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Kevin was loved by everyone because he didn’t take life too seriously and was always trying to make people laugh. Kevin started playing sports very young, including hockey competitively from the age of 3 on as well as baseball, lacrosse, golf and was a member of 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.

Sue’s goal has always been to help raise awareness of “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” through education, 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 thinks about if Kevin’s friends had known CPR would they have been able to save them in that situation? She has become a strong voice around the issue of CPR and AEDs in schools. We were so fortunate to have Sue’s dedication and advocacy to ensure that all schools will have an AED by 2018! 

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