What you learn today can save a child's life tomorrow C.H.A.S.E. For Life logo volunteerclassfacts
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mar magazine

Chasing Farley

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 happy ending?

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 child.

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 Education.

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 corporate world?

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 Film Festival.

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.

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