Dads push to pay for life-savers in London high schools

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A group of London dads has set an ambitious goal of having defibrillators in every London high school this fall.

Dad Club London, a non-profit support network for fathers, has set a goal of $24,500 to fund the installation of AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) in 12 public high schools and one Catholic high school in the city that do not now have the life-saving device.

The club, which has about 3,000 members, has already raised more than $5,000 and will continue the campaign through the summer, hoping to hit the goal by this fall.

“All summer long you will see us all over social media all over the community trying to raise this money as efficiently as possible so our schools will be as safe as possible,” said Dad Club co-founder Jeremy McCall in a video posting.

The club says studies show that every year two teens attending Thames Valley schools are likely to suffer a heart attack.

AEDS are used to revive heart attack victims. They are easy to use and greatly increase chances of survival.

The Thames Valley District School Board has 159 schools but only about 20 have defibrillators.

In contrast, three other boards in the region have AEDs in all schools, and the London District Catholic school board, which covers the same geographic area as the Thames Valley board, has the units in 45 of its 55 schools.

In May, the Thames Valley trustees, at the urging of trustee Jake Skinner, voted to install AEDs in all of its schools over a five-year period.

Skinner is also a member of the Dad’s Club and sought the club’s help in community fund-raising efforts. Each AED unit cost about $2,000.

The campaign to install AEDs in schools was spurred by the 2015 death of 15-year-old Andrew Stoddart, who collapsed and later died after playing soccer at A. J. Baker elementary school in Kintore. Stoddart’s death was a factor in the Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations passing a motion in 2015 asking the provincial government for a law making AEDs mandatory in public buildings, including schools.

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Dad Club AED drive

Online donations can be made at

Cash donations can be made at Palasad South, 141 Pine Valley Blvd., Donaldson Heating, 1184 Frances St., London Source for Sports, 406 Wharncliffe Rd. S. or any Royal Bank branch.

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