Ryan began Hoops for Heart Health, Inc. to generate awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and to:
- Educate athletes and those around them to recognize SCA and train them to react in a way that will
- Provide schools and other public recreation areas with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
- Advocate for AEDs in public places around the country and train lay people to respond immediately with CPR and how to use an AED.
- Promote screening and testing measures to identify potential heart conditions in children
I was playing for the American Athletic Union team in 2005 when one of my teammates, Stanley Myers, suffered from sudden cardiac arrest during a run just before practice.
He was from New Haven and graduated from Wilbur Cross High School… we had a lot in common and it struck me that there were a lot of athletes in other American Athletic Union (AAU) events like football who might suffer from this same problem. Not only that, it was happening to people in all age groups. Everywhere I looked, someone was going down due to sudden cardiac arrest.
My mom taught me by doing. She cared for people and not just while working as a nurse’s aide. I saw the time and energy she gave at work and in our community, helping those in need. She made sacrifices for me and I’ve been blessed by her. I’m able to do what I love to do and be compensated for it. She raised me the right way and I want to share that sense of caring for others with the local community I’ve found on a national level.
My manager, Wayne Simone, knew Stanley as well and we decided to make people aware of not only the problem of sudden cardiac arrest but also what to do about it so we could save lives.
During my first year with the Celtics, I was kind of a celebrity and I could do something on a national stage to tell people how important it is to put AEDs in rec centers and other public places.
The more I started to work on this, the more people I met who had lost someone special, like Rachael. Her son suffered SCA but was 30 minutes from the nearest hospital and the help he needed immediately. After his death, she worked hard to give her loss meaning and helped us a lot. She got us going in the right direction with her connections.
Parents like Rachel and other families wake up each day and help the next family, person, recreation center or school deal with Sudden Cardiac Arrest. They give me the focus and energy to keep pushing our message out there.
We want to help provide AEDs and training to the most needy places, where people exercise or play but don’t necessarily have the funds for a machine.
We’re proud of the accomplishments we’ve made so far, placing AEDs in schools, training so many people, and, maybe most important, advocating for legislation that requires every school to have an AED and someone trained in it use. Every school with an athletic department or organized athletic program must develop an emergency plan for responding to SCA.
That was the best thing we could have accomplished since starting the Organization.
Everything happens fast in Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Someone who follows the commands on an AED and can administer CPR brings blood and oxygen to the heart, possibly reviving a person before the EMS arrives.
It’s minutes that make a difference and mean that someone can be here with friends and family after experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
This is an opportunity to change someone’s life. We are working to promote awareness and provide training and equipment. We invite individuals, businesses, and other organizations to join us through their support by making a donation or volunteering. We want time and talent from people, not just money. Unfortunately, everything in this world costs something — AEDs are no exception —please contribute any way you can.
Help spread the word. See the smiles on people’s faces when you met a family who’s lost someone to Sudden Cardiac Arrest and know you’re going to bat for them with us.
It probably is going to be someone you don’t know but if you volunteer or make a donation, you’re going to save someone’s life. What better thing can you do?