We were extremely impressed with the number of creative submissions we received for the Fall 2020 Avive College Scholarship and would like to thank all of the applicants. Choosing a winner was no small task.
Among the many thoughtful videos and essays, Connor Smith impressed us with both his ideas and his commitment to action. As a student volunteer for Simon’s Heart, Connor has a clear passion for raising awareness about hands-only CPR and the use of AEDs to save victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Outside of his volunteer work, Connor is an athlete, certified lifeguard, and student at West Virginia University where he studies Global Supply Chain Management. Congratulations, Connor!
Connor began advocating for Sudden Cardiac Arrest awareness and survival when he was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, a condition that can often go undetected and cause SCA. Just weeks before the diagnosis, Connor was finishing up his cross country season and, as he writes, “the thought of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest event happening to me during a Cross Country race haunts me. Nobody ever thinks this is going to happen to them. I vowed to help take action on the issue of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.”
Take action he did! Connor began volunteering with Simon’s Heart, an organization that raises awareness to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest in youth. With Simon’s Heart, Connor has “helped the organization with fundraising and lobbying State Legislators to try to pass Simon’s Heart Sudden Cardiac Arrest Act nationwide.” Connor is also promoting SCA awareness locally by creating presentations on the Chain of Survival for his high school classmates, partnering with the local pool to educate about CPR/AEDs, and hosting community days where scouts, coaches, and other groups can learn how to perform CPR and use AEDs.
Connor also highlights how real stories and experiences can better help people understand the prevalence and urgency of SCA. Connor writes, “I think that parents, coaches, and group leaders never really think that Sudden Cardiac Arrest will happen to someone they know. It is my hope that my passion and putting a face to this cause in my area will change that thinking. Community members that have known me my whole life will realize that if it could happen to me, it could happen to members of their families, teams or groups…I have been a runner and swimmer for approximately 10 years. If I didn’t end up in the Emergency Room for an unrelated incident, we wouldn’t know about my heart.” Connor hopes that his voice and passion will help educate others, and which may end up saving a life.
Avive offers a $750 scholarship bi-annually. Students can apply by November 30th, 2020 for the Winter Scholarship. Just upload your best essay (fewer than 1,000 words) or video (shorter than 5 minutes) on how you would drive awareness about the importance of CPR and using an AED. Click here for full details.