Students with heart
Students at CSU’s Port Macquarie Campus are giving back to their community by raising funds for much-needed defibrillators.
eart disease is Australia’s biggest killer. Every 10 minutes someone in this country has a heart attack, with one death every hour, or about 9,000 deaths every year. CSU students in Port Macquarie took those figures to heart, instigating a project to help improve the outcomes of sudden cardiac arrest in their community. Co-founder of the Student Heart Project Daniel Steinbeck explains that students were looking for a way to give back to the community. “We wanted to do something worthwhile so we came up with the Student Heart Project. After talking to people, we got the idea that defibrillators would be something tangible to give back to the community. “The Student Heart Project now incorporates students from all courses, and staff as well, but originally it was started by three paramedic students. I guess that, being paramedics, we could see the huge need for defibrillators in the community. It all just made a lot of sense to give back this way.” The group held an inaugural fundraising ball last year and have staged other, smaller fundraisers like
Bunnings barbecues to raise $20,000, which has funded seven defibrillator units. “We called for expressions of interest from community groups who could get the most from the units. We’ve put the automated external defibrillators into a Men’s Shed, outside a theatre and a school. We’ve put one in the middle of town and sent one to Lord Howe Island, where there was a real need for a unit,” Daniel said. “Now we’re really working towards getting the community involved. So rather than purchase full units, we part fundraise and get the community to raise the other half to get more people involved and to build awareness. “We also advocate for public access to the units and we’re working with all the places around town that have one to make them available to the public 24/7. There are a couple of really good apps you can get on your phone that tell you where the defibrillators are located, so we’ll be working with that. “We’re also trying to talk to NSW Ambulance to get all units on a register that they have so that if someone calls them, they’ll be able to tell them where their closest unit is.”