State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) has joined with Merrick residents Jill and Craig Levine, who founded the Robbie Levine Foundation in memory of their nine year old son who died tragically of sudden cardiac arrest after rounding the bases and reaching home plate during a little league practice in 2005, to make 2008 the "Year of the Defibrillator".
"In a cardiac emergency, the difference between life and death is only a matter of minutes. Having defibrillators readily accessible save precious time in helping victims survive a cardiac emergency. The Robbie Levine Foundations’s efforts will go a long way towards raising awareness about the importance of defibrillators. I am pleased to support Jill and Craig in this very worthy cause," said Senator Fuschillo.
"Defibrillators save lives. Children already wear helmets and other pads when playing sports to help prevent an injury. Now we need to raise awareness about the importance of having lifesaving safety equipment that can help prevent a tragedy. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at anytime. If a defibrillator can save just one life and spare one family from having to live with the pain of losing a loved one, our efforts will be a success," said Jill Levine.
Throughout 2008, the Robbie Levine Foundation will undertake a grass roots campaign to raise awareness about the importance of having defibrillators available when children are playing sports. As part of the effort, Senator Fuschillo and Assemblyman Dave McDonough (19th Assembly District) will be sponsoring a resolution in both the New York State Senate and Assembly highlighting 2008 as "The Year of the Defibrillator". The Foundation will also conduct a letter writing campaign to youth athletic directors, schools, and municipalities, organize a US Postal Stamp petition drive, and seek the support of local, state, and federal elected officials.
Local first responders praised the awareness campaign.
"The North Merrick Fire Department is very proud to support the Robbie Levine Foundation’s CPR and AED citizen awareness program. In conjunction with the foundation, we have already trained over 200 members of our community from sports coaches, managers, family members as well as many of our local residents desiring to learn this lifesaving skill. Recent studies have documented the positive effect of lay rescuer AED programs in the community. Increasing access to defibrillators will definitely have positive impact on enhancing one’s survival from a life threatening sudden cardiac arrest," stated North Merrick Fire Department Commissioner Kevin O’Hara.
Since its inception, the Robbie Levine Foundation has already raised over $150,000, donated defibrillators to several different youth sports leagues in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Brooklyn, as well as a Boy Scout Camp, organized training sessions to teach people how to use defibrillators, and developed an educational DVD. The Foundation also holds an annual 5K run other events designed to raise awareness about the importance of defibrillators. Anyone interested in learning more about the Foundation’s efforts can visit its website at www.robbielevinefoundation.org.