Cousins at UW start movement to protect students' heart health - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cousins at UW start movement to protect students' heart health

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Two cousins at UW-Madison have turned a family member's death into a movement to protect students' heart health.

Their mission is to make the campus better prepared. Brittany Derynda and Jessica Miller started a student organization called Cardiac on Campus in 2015, after Derynda's brother died of sudden cardiac arrest. He was only 20-years-old and collapsed after running a half marathon.

"That was obviously a hugely influential event for our family and it really drove home the importance of cardiac health to us," Miller said.

The pair started the Tutu Trot on campus. The fun run has brought out hundreds of runners and raised $7-thousand in the past two years. Now, they're using that money to install the first AED in a dorm on campus. It's at Chadbourne Residence Hall on Park Street.

Miller says educating students and giving them resources is the best way to make sure they're aware anyone can be at risk.

"If we can stop those statistics now in our age group and really get AEDs in every building and get people to start thinking about their cardiac health before the time that they're 40, maybe we can change those statistics by the time that we're that age," she told 27 News. 

The group is also hosting CPR classes on the UW campus, to educate students. Those classes will continue throughout the year. 

Cardiac on Campus plans to install a second AED at another residence hall this year. They hope to eventually get one inside every dorm at UW.

Click here for more information on the organization. 

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