Starting Hearts

A nonprofit organization

$29,885 raised by 77 donors

100% complete

$0 Goal

Starting Hearts needs your help to continue our lifesaving and leadership curriculum throughout Colorado. This program teaches leadership, delegation, and teamwork while increasing survival rates of SCA victims through free CPR and defibrillator skills training. Every donation helps us save lives.


"This critical project is fulfilling a community need we regretfully cannot currently afford to accomplish. We have identified this program as a critical link to the survival of our friends, family and neighbors. We are honored to be part of such an important community program."
- Karl Bauer
Fire Chief, Eagle River Fire Protection District

"Vail Valley Medical Center embraces what Lynn Blake is trying to accomplish. VVMC is in the business of saving lives, and Starting Hearts can have a direct impact on that mission by engaging the community to help recognize and react to SCA appropriately."
- Doris Kirchner
CEO and President, Vail Valley Medical Center

Starting Hearts provides innovative educational programs to prepare our school population to act as citizen first responders in the case of sudden cardiac arrest. Early care is so crucial in those first few minutes and often makes the difference between life and death. Our students and staff learn how to recognize a cardiac arrest and respond appropriately; and in the process, gain leadership and lifesaving skills to last a lifetime.
- Dr. Jason Glass
Former Superintendent, Eagle County School District

"It's simple. Call 911. Do rapid compressions in the middle of the chest and shock the person. When someone has a cardiac arrest the most important thing needed is shock."
- Dr. Lawrence Gaul


Mission: Starting Hearts to save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims

Vision: To make our home a model community for the nation, creating safer environments for victims of sudden cardiac arrest, the nation's leading cause of unexpected death.

Purpose: Provide free education in lifesaving skills, including the administration of CPR and defibrillation; develop widespread access to defibrillators in public places; implement citizen first responder strategies; and improve outcomes for SCA victims.

Background Statement

On Valentine's Day 2007, Lynn Blake was an otherwise healthy, 27-year-old newlywed living in Vail, Colorado. She was enjoying her first week at a new job, when her heart stopped without warning and she became unresponsive. A coworker quickly responded by dialing 911 and beginning CPR. Shortly after, emergency personnel arrived with a defibrillator and were able to shock her heart. Lynn became one of the very few fortunate to survive a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Nationally, over 1,000 people per day suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. Of these events, only 8% will survive, making this the single biggest killer of Americans each year. As experienced in Lynn's story, the confluence of competent and confident bystander intervention, defibrillator deployment and professional medical response can save the lives of SCA victims. When community members have been instilled with the confidence and capabilities to provide early care to others in need, the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest can rise to as high as 70%.

This life-altering experience propelled Lynn to dedicate her life to educating the community in order to help others as she had been helped. In 2010, she launched Starting Hearts with a mission to save victims of sudden cardiac arrest by increasing awareness through free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillator education. With 70% of SCA events occurring in the home or residence, having a wide network of individuals of all ages capable and willing to respond to this medical emergency would only increase the possibility of survival from this devastating event.

Starting Hearts began by seeking collaborations with local governmental agencies and its first responder operations to both identify areas of need as well as establish programming that would not duplicate existing efforts. It then established its three key programs - Call.Push.Shock.™, Neighbor Saver™ and Nearest DEFIB™ - while participating in local, regional and statewide efforts to create a SCA registry to collect and disseminate data that may assist in prevention and response strategies.

Starting Hearts' flagship educational program, Call.Push.Shock.™ delivers a 45-minute, hands-on CPR/DEFIB skill training that effectively educates citizens on how to help save lives. This free education is available in both English and Spanish, to all citizens young and old, and is regularly conducted for local businesses, schools, governments, hotels and community groups. To date, Starting Hearts has trained over 35,000 people, including coaches, teachers, elementary and high school students, and corporate staffs. Paramount to the lifesaving skills learned, this program provides practice in the leadership and teamwork abilities that are necessary to enlist others in helping to save a life.

Once trained, an individual has the opportunity to become part of the Neighbor Saver™ network. Starting Hearts has integrated the PulsePoint mobile application with local 911 dispatches to alert registered citizen first responders with directions to the nearest defibrillator and the location of the victim. This activates our public to be the important bridge between an event and arrival of the professionals. This early care makes a tremendous difference in outcomes and is often the difference between a life saved and one lost. We currently have over 1,000 enlisted members in Eagle County.

Because defibrillation is critical to a successful intervention, Starting Hearts has also worked to significantly increase the number of defibrillator placements across Eagle County and has developed a protective capsule to allow for outdoor installations where strategically important. Our program Nearest DEFIB™ utilizes a GPS-based system and a free downloadable mobile app to increase the public's access to these lifesaving devices. We manage a database tracking all defibrillators in our service area and have worked tirelessly to ensure strategic placement of these life saving devices, many in readily accessed public areas. We now oversee more than 400 defibrillators in Eagle County - one for every 130 citizens, creating what is believed to be the highest per capita ratio in the nation. Our newest office in Summit County oversees over 300 AEDs in the community of 30,000 residents.

Success stories in our community are many, not only from those who have been saved, but also from those who were on scene and grateful that they knew exactly how to respond. Last December alone, two sudden cardiac arrest events occurred in Eagle County, and both were saved due to citizen responders and the use of defibrillators. These events occur in a wide variety of locations, reinforcing the need for the infrastructure Starting Hearts has developed and is implementing.

Organization Data


Organization name

Starting Hearts

Year Established



Health Care, Education, Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief

Organization Size

Medium Organization


#219 Avon Center 100 West Beaver Creek Blvd.
Avon, CO 81620


PO Box 2981
Avon, CO 81620

Service areas

Eagle County, CO, US

Summit County, CO, US

Denver, CO, US

Lake County, CO, US

Park County, CO, US



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