Laura Friend, inspires me and others everyday since the death of her 12 year old daughter Sarah in July 2004. Laura has made enormous strides to prevent sudden cardiac death in adolescents and young adults.
Laura created a Texas nonprofit, the Sarah Friend Heart Foundation, which has donated 59 life-saving defibrillators in Texas and trained hundreds of youth and adults in CPR/AED use.
Laura helped form and spearhead Parent Heart Watch, a national nonprofit organization that now has over 300 advocates in the U.S. and seven countries.
Laura wanted Texas to have an AED in every school and students to be trained in CPR/AED. She met with administrators in Public Health which led to writing a bill and successful passage in 2007 of Texas Senate Bill 7 that requires AEDs in every Texas public school, incorporated CPR/AED training for all high school graduates and appropriated $1 million in funding to a cardiovascular screening pilot program in schools.
Laura founded the Project ADAM – Texas affiliate January 31, 2011 after hearing the desperation from all schools regarding Emergency Plans and CPR training. The schools needed help. Aimed towards education and implementation of school AED cardiac emergency programs in the state of Texas. A few years later, Laura realized she needed help with the schools as word got out through school nurses and administrators. She was successful in launching a Project ADAM in Houston at Texas Children’s and recently another program in Dallas. Project ADAM is headquartered in Milwaukee WI and has affiliates across the U.S.
In 2015, Laura met with her state senator requesting training on Texas educators. The bill was written up, Laura testified and gathered others to testify supporting Senate Bill 382, a law that passed and provides teachers with professional continuing education credit if they take AED training.
Laura had been meeting numerous times with the Cook Children’s Foundation regarding helping schools acquire AEDs average $1200. Each. Laura learned in November 2015 her wish had come true. Cook Children’s Foundation surprised Laura with $92,000 Employee Donations for AEDs in Texas high schools.
In March 2016 the National Athletic Trainers Association awarded Laura with the second annual Ambassador Award for Sports Safety for her work with high schools. She helps prepare schools for cardiac emergencies through staff CPR-AED training, school AED drills, student CPR education and sudden cardiac arrest awareness. In the last six years alone, Laura has trained more than 25,000 school employees in hands-only CPR/AED training, how to save a life, and have an Emergency Plan. Laura is a frequent speaker with the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, a coalition to prevent youth deaths.
Laura wanted to see a 2 minute video broadcast across the city and in waiting rooms everywhere to show the public how to save a life in 2 minutes. She thought everyone waits in line for 2 minutes somewhere and we could teach them to save a life. The video was made and is played on the internet, a few children’s hospitals, and in schools. Laura is still wanting to see it blasted across every TV, in airplanes, movie theatres and she’s working on an inexpensive CPR kit that can be very mobile and affordable.