The American Heart Association Sweethearts recently visited National Park Medical Center to earn their adult and infant CPR certification and tour the Cardiac Catheterization Labs at the new Heart and Vascular Center of Central Arkansas. Over the course of three afternoons, the 36 sweethearts had the opportunity to work closely with NPMC’s Director of Education and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Cindy Draper, as well as with NPMC Cath Lab Supervisor, Jason Jones, RT(R)(CV)(ARRT), to arm themselves with education needed in the fight against America’s leading cause of death—heart disease.
The Hot Springs Sweethearts are a group of High School sophomore and junior young ladies from the Garland county area who spend five months devoted to heart-healthy lifestyles and learning about cardiovascular disease. Sponsored by National Park Medical Center, the Sweethearts have been busy fundraising for the American Heart Association and having fun with special events.
“Each of the Sweetheart activities is unique and meaningful to the program, but the CPR certification and Cath Lab tour at NPMC is an incredibly valuable component of being a Sweetheart. These young ladies receive hands-on experience that could potentially save a life, and they learn about a life-saving procedure that will likely impact a loved one sometime in their own lives,” Kathryn Russell, Sweetheart Chair, said. This year, the Sweethearts were among the very first to see the new, state of the art cardiac cath labs in NPMC’s Heart and Vascular Center of Central Arkansas.
During the cath lab tour, the Sweethearts are walked through what a patient experiences from the moment he or she begins exhibiting heart attack symptoms, to presenting to the emergency department, to waking up after a cardiac catheterization procedure. They also gain knowledge on what it is like to work in the cath labs. In addition, the Sweethearts receive training and certification in CPR and learn how to properly use an automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) in the event of a cardiac emergency.
The Sweethearts have been volunteering their time at NPMC and riding with LifeNet Ambulance service. They also recently held their Father Daughter BBQ. Their next activities will be the mother/daughter Soiree and a cardiovascular fitness day at FBC Fitness led by Amy Johnson and Michelle Bell.
Before the program is over, the Sweethearts will compose a paper about cardiovascular diseases which will be graded by heart specialists at National Park Medical Center. The sweethearts are scored on their paper, their volunteering hours, and their dedication to the sweetheart lifestyle throughout the five month period. On the night of the Heart Ball, the one Sweetheart who scores the highest in the program will be named “Sweetheart of the Ball” and awarded the $2,000 Caroline Grace Russell Memorial Scholarship and a piece of custom “sweetheart” jewelry by Lauray’s The Diamond Center.
The Heart Ball is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2017 at Horner Hall. For more information or to purchase tickets to the heart ball, visit https://ahafayetteville.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/20162017HotSpringsHeartBall
In Photo: NPMC Director of Education and Cardiac Rehab, Cindy Draper (left) instructs Sweetheart, Trinity Dooley, on her CPR technique while other sweethearts look on.