Danielle Brender, 11, was playing at a friend’s house in Millburn 12 years ago when she suffered a sudden, and fatal, heart attack.
Her family would later learn that she suffered from Long QT Syndrome, a genetic abnormality of the heart. Now, they are working to teach people skills that could have saved their daughter.
“People need to be prepared in case of an emergency,” said Sharon Brender, her mother. “I believe if Danielle was defibrillated in time, she could have been treated and saved.”
The Brender family, through the Danielle Brender Fund, has been sponsoring Red Cross CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) trainings, for the past 12 years. On Sunday morning, more than 90 people received lifesaving CPR and AED training at Millburn High School.
Christy Hodde, community chapter executive of American Red Cross New Jersey Crossroads, explained that preparing people for emergencies is part of the organization’s basic mission.
“To make sure that more people are prepared for emergencies is just as important as responding to emergencies,” she said as students trained with CPR manikins. “And the lesson learned from (Superstorm) Sandy is to be prepared.”
In addition to supporting the trainings, which over the years have trained more than 3,000 people, the Brenders, with the help of the community through their fund, have worked to have defibrillators distributed throughout Millburn schools. All three of Sharon’s surviving children and her husband have Long QT syndrome.
In addition to helping people learn the lifesaving skills, Brender encourages young adults and children and those with certain symptoms to be screened for the syndrome.
“If people have been fainting, they should see a cardiologist,” she said. “Most people attribute fainting to benign factors,” however sometimes Long QT Syndrome may be the cause.
The training was well received by participants, including Ann Tramuta of Elizabeth. “It’s a wonderful experience. It’s great,” she said.
Keren Brender, 19, Danielle Brender’s sister, also spoke well of the event. “I love it. It’s a great way to bring the community together and help people learn a lifesaving skill,” she said.
You too can gain the skills needed to prepare for and respond to emergencies through American Red Cross training – Take A Class!
See more photos at: Flickr – Red Cross North Jersey – 2013 Millburn AED Day