Video: Push for portable defibrillators

By Don Teague Correspondent
NBC News
updated 2/23/2007 7:36:12 PM ET 2007-02-24T00:36:12

Stop by any big gathering of health care workers or educators, and you'll probably see Rachel Moyer sharing hugs and information with anyone who will listen.

Her personal mission is fueled by a memory she'll never forget — the day six years ago when her 15-year-old son collapsed during a high school basketball game.

"When we went into the locker room, he was laying on the floor," she recalls. "Gregory wasn't moving and he wasn't breathing, so I knelt down and held his head. I said, 'Greg, what's wrong? Why aren't you breathing, Greg?' I said, 'Breathe!'"

Greg Moyer never took another breath, one of an estimated 7,000 kids each year who die from sudden cardiac arrest.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, could have restarted his heart, but like most American schools, Greg's didn't have one.

So Rachel Moyer started a nonprofit group, Parent Heart Watch, that's paid for more than 1,000 defribillators and lobbies states to require them in schools. Five states now do.

Some schools have failed to adopt these defibrillators over fears they'll shock someone who doesn't really need it, but the AED has a fail-safe built in. It only works if it's necessary.

Like on a hot night in Texas last September, when 17-year-old Matt Nader collapsed during a high school football game.

"I had no pulse, and my mom says I stopped breathing," recalls Nader.

But his team carried an AED and used it to save Matt's life.

Today, his hero is Rachel Moyer.

"You can stay in bed and not do anything because the grief is so overwhelming, or you can get out of bed and make a difference," she says.

One mother who has turned her loss into a mission.

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