Farley Boyle is all about having
a positive vibe. She captained
a Division I volleyball team in
college. She carved out a big, blond
modeling career when fashion edi-
tors demanded gaunt and smoky si-
rens. After quick action revived her
young daughter from a potentially fatal
plunge off the dock of their New Jer-
sey home, Farley transformed a life-
altering experience into C.H.A.S.E.
for Life, an organization dedicated to
educating anyone with a "hand on a
child" in basic life saving skills. Little
did Farley realize that everything she's
done, everyone she's known, and ev-
ery path she chose was leading her
to this unexpected and extraordinary
point in her life.
MAR: People who devote themselves to foundations and charities
tend to come from a negative experience--a disaster, a disease, a
death. The defining aspect of C.H.A.S.E. for Life is that it sprung from
a good outcome. How does that change the playing field for you?
FB: Unfortunately, most of the founding directors I have met thus far
on my non-profit journey dove head first into their missions by forming charitable organizations in order to fill a void or find a cure as the
result of pain, sorrow, or a loss. What I have in common with them is
that I have taken a negative experience and turned it into a positive
one. The way my "happy ending" changes the playing field, however, is that the people I encounter tend to see my commitment in
a different light. They recognize that beyond being incredibly thankful and lucky my life could have gone straight back to normal. The
fact that I started to give back immediately by forming C.H.A.S.E.
for Life with a "pay it forward" attitude gave me a different kind of
substance right off the bat.
MAR: Is it a lot easier to get people on board when your story has a
FB: Absolutely. We are living proof that happy endings exist when
you are educated. We weren't CPR certified but we had taken a
basic safety class when we pregnant with our first child. Thanks
to that class we knew how to expel the water from Chase's body
and how to get her breathing again until help arrived. Our positive outcome seems to set a different tone when seeking strategic
partnerships and co-branding opportunities. It's easy to jump on
a happy band wagon and inspiring to become a part of a success
story that continues to empower others for free. There is no small
print, there are no gimmicks or strings attached. What you see is
what you get!
MAR: You are the family that saved a child, not the one that lost a
FB: There isn't a day that goes by that we don't thank our lucky
stars. Obviously we were given a second chance because there
were bigger plans in the works for my career. What's interesting
are the looks of fear/guilt I still get from parents within Monmouth
County, when by my sight only are they reminded of "our" story
confessing through body language that they still haven't made the
time to get educated. That "It won't happen to me, I'll take a class
eventually" attitude proves that infant/child CPR and Choking Maneuver education isn't taken seriously when it should be a top priority! C.H.A.S.E. for Life has modernized this education, making it
readily available at no charge for public consumption. Thankfully,
we are not trying to cure cancer or solve world hunger, our goal is
within grasps. We are simply trying to save children's lives through
awareness and prevention education.
MAR: C.H.A.S.E. stands for CPR, Heimlich, Awareness, Safety and
FB: Ironically enough, when Chase's name became this perfect acronym I decided it was fate and created a logo, got incorporated and
legally declared tax-exempt within three months after the incident.
It seems like every person in my life (family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers) have helped C.H.A.S.E. for Life get where it
is today. Without such unconditional support, patience, dedication
and love I would never have been able to pull this off.
MAR: Or do half way.
FB: No, if I'm going to throw myself into something, it can't just be
okay. I want to nail it. I don't like to be second best.
MAR: What aspect of your modeling career qualifies you to be Executive Director of C.H.A.S.E. for Life?
FB: I'm comfortable in my own skin and have always been my own
boss. You have to be if you're the founding director of a non-profit,
because people are constantly coming at you from all angles. Modeling gave me confidence from going on daily castings and auditions where it was my job to sell myself. Agencies get your foot in
the door with clients but in the end it's up to you and your portfolio
to seal the deal. Nine times out of ten I got booked based on personality. My book wasn't as strong as my spirit. I just happened to
fill the bill when looking for the token All-American girl.
MAR: How were you sure that C.H.A.S.E. was the right thing to do
with your life?
FB: When I'm inspired, there is no stopping me. The timing was
perfect in life to become the spokesperson for something I believed
in with all my heart. I knew I wanted to give back so therefore I had
only one choice.... Go for It! What did I have to lose? Before that
moment on the dock, I used to wonder what my purpose was be-
yond pro-creating offspring that might make a difference. I have a
degree in Communications specializing in broadcasting and journalism, I was/am an athlete, I worked at a law firm, I've modeled
for 18 years, but like many women I did not feel as though I had
found my true niche. Coincidentally, I was on the cover of three
pregnancy-oriented publications when Chase drowned: Lamaze,
Plum Magazine and Bundle. I went back and asked each magazine
if they would be do a follow-up story on what had just happened
to me. I had three pieces of press validating my mission overnight.
Chase was the face of the Baby Gap's national holiday campaign
which made it's debut shortly after she got out of ICU. I had also
just wrapped shooting an episode of Runway Moms, a cable show
featured on the Discovery Health Network and they allocated the
last minute of my episode as a public service announcement spot-
lighting my mission. The last straw that verified my career was in
destiny's hands was when I sat next to a woman on the ferry who
overheard me talking and turned out to be an Executive Producer
for the Today Show. She believed in my mission and got us on the
show six months later for seven minutes at prime time. The stars
were aligned and the heavens parted!
MAR: Your husband's family is in the production business. Is that
where the C.H.A.S.E. for Life video came from?
FB: Yes, they have a creative studio in TriBeca. When I presented
the idea of doing a life-saving DVD they said absolutely. And it goes
on and on. My next-door neighbor had a non-profit background.
She knew how to set up the paperwork and infrastructure for the
organization. Another friend had expertise in web design so we got
a web site up right away. Vicki McDougal, who was actually here
the day of the downing, had a background in branding, licensing,
marketing and television production. Meanwhile, I had good leadership skills as the former captain of a Division I volleyball team. I
had been at CBS for three years and knew how the media works.
So all of the components I would normally have struggled with were
already in place. Even my kids were comfortable in the spotlight.
Three weeks after the drowning, Chase was the face of Baby Gap.
It just seemed as if the layers of my life were all there to lift me up to
become the Founding Director of C.H.A.S.E. for Life.
MAR: What surprised you most as you took this idea out into the
FB: Well, I now know that No good deed goes unpunished is more
than just a cliche. I immediately found myself under a microscope
without a medical degree. People are skeptics and wanted to point
out that it was our fault that Chase drowned in the first place. By
producing an 18 minute animated instructional film along with in-
print resources and by creating an iconic character "Paddy the
Penguin" to become the face of CPR instruction, initial responses
were: Why? Are you for real? Is C.H.A.S.E. for Life an accredited
agency? Why try to re-invent the wheel? Do you know what you
are getting into?
MAR: Who's asking these questions?
FB: Medical associations, hospital conglomerates, corporate
sponsors, doctors and lawyers--I had never been cross examined and debated like this before, especially when I am just trying to do something to benefit mankind. Lifesaving is viewed as a medical
liability which becomes an insurance nightmare. Here we created
and produced 100% medically/technically accurate resources--
free, modern, easy to understand, readily available, entertaining--
and yet we couldn't get accredited by the American Academy of
Pediatrics after they courted us throughout the entire creative process. Why you ask? Because they had similar products available
for purchase which was a direct conflict of interest. Why didn't they
express that in the very beginning of our relationship? Because we
spoon fed them a great idea and they collaborated with the Red
Cross and came out with their own version, with an $18.00 price
tag, three months after our film made it's debut in the Two River
MAR: By the way, the dirty word in that sentence is Free.
FB: Who knew? Lifesaving is a for-profit industry and we are conveying this information and giving out an education in a non-profit
way, which makes us the enemy to some people. Translation: we
are taking dollars out of their pockets. C.H.A.S.E. wants to make
sure that everyone is empowered with at least the basics. We work
in supplement to accredited agencies and strongly recommend
that they further their education by getting certified. However,
these agencies along with the national CPR committees reassess
guidelines every five years, which helps money flow back into the
system by decreasing the shelf life of resources and products that
currently exist along with the need for re-certification training. It's a
revolving door. Eventually the guidelines will reflect that breathing
is an unnecessary step. The compression/breath count has gone
from fifteen and two to thirty and two. Next it will probably be 90
compressions and no breaths, who knows? They all work. Doing
something is better than nothing and understanding what you are
doing is everything. Don't over analyze your technique when you
are faced with a crises. It doesn't matter if you do it perfectly from
front to back. Stay calm and be proactive by doing something.
MAR: How did you handle that?
FB: My response was I'm not reinventing the wheel, just repackaging it. The average ambulance response time in the United States
is eight to fifteen minutes and that is from when a call to 911 is
actually placed. There is downtime from when a crises occurs until
a call to 911 is made. The clock is unforgiving and is constantly
ticking. Five minutes without oxygen results in brain damage, six
minutes results in brain death. What's wrong wanting to educate
everyone with a hand on a child with the basic life saving skills
needed to sustain a life until help arrives? CPR certification costs
money and takes time. This education slips through the cracks
because it's inconvenient, intimidating, expensive and boring.
Fortunately, my mission was validated in the medical community
when Meridian and St. Barnabas Health Care Systems agreed to
become C.H.A.S.E. partners piloting our initiative in their fourteen
hospitals. NYU Presbyterian/Cornel Weil & Columbia hospitals in
NYC are now piloting our initiative as well. Johnson & Johnson
recently agreed to become our GLOBAL partner under their Safe
Kids Worldwide umbrella. Safe Kids Worldwide is the first and only
international nonprofit organization dedicated solely to preventing
unintentional childhood injury. Founded in Washington, DC in 1987
by Children's National Medical Center with support from Johnson
& Johnson. Their first areas of major concern were bicycle helmet
and car restraint safety. Now they are looking to expand their business, and C.H.A.S.E. for Life is a perfect fit.
MAR: So is it fair to say that C.H.A.S.E. for life is your new full time
job, and are you okay with that?
FB: Beyond full time and thrilled I have found my niche. I'm a one man band wearing a hundred hats. I feel like I have become an
adult over night. Life is so fragile and precious, try not to take one
second for granted because you can blink and it's gone. One of
my best friends competed on The Apprentice last season and said
after her experience, "It's a shame that we don't even come close
to maximizing our brain or energy potential. We are a lazy race
capable of achieving so much more than we do and it took a T. V.
reality show to teach me such a valuable life lesson." C.H.A.S.E.
for Life is my version of The Apprentice. I never thought I would
be the founding director of a national non-profit, but I accepted
the challenge and rose to the occasion armed with my daughter's
laughter and five life saving testimonies to date in less than two and
a half years time. I can't imagine moving on to something else until
C.H.A.S.E. is in a place where it can take care of itself. What makes
it all worthwhile is that I can sit back at the end of the day and know
that I have made a difference in the world.