Knoxville artist donates AED to Cedar Bluff Middle School

Knoxville artist donates AED to Cedar Bluff Middle School

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Hunter was in the hospital only a short time after the incident. Hunter was in the hospital only a short time after the incident.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Cedar Bluff Middle School received an AED Monday morning as part of a local non-profit program.

Local artist Julie Sterchi, who is an alumna of the school, donated the money for the device.

AEDs (automated external defibrillators) treat sudden cardiac arrest by delivering an electrical shock to allow the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

The devices were donated in honor of five-year-old cardiac patient Hutton Johnson and 14-year-old Central High School freshman Hunter Helton.

Helton, who survived a cardiac arrest after a coach at the school used an on-site AED to restart his heart, attended the ceremony with his family. His father said the device saved Hunter's life.

"We're here to help bring awareness to Knox County Schools to tell how important the AED machines are and that everyone be prepared like Coach Higgins was," said Hunter's father.

Project ADAM, a program led by East Tennessee Children's Hospital, provides the devices along with training and support to area schools.

Organizers said Helton's emergency demonstrates why Project ADAM is needed in Knox County schools. They are working to bring AEDs to all schools in the county.

Not only that, organizers said the proximity of the AED to the gym where Helton collapsed made a difference.

Once they achieve their goal of placing them in every school, organizers would like to see multiple devices placed throughout each school so they are nearby for any emergencies inside a school.

Cedar Bluff Middle School is the first school to receive an AED this school year.

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