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The Hub

August 21, 2008

by Sharon Leff

Red Cross partners with CHASE for Life

Local nonprofit aims to expand lifesaving program for children

LITTLE SILVER — An incident that could have ended in tragedy has turned into a lifesaving mission for a Little Silver mother.

When Farley Boyle's daughter Chase almost drowned during an August 2005 fishing trip, her husband administered the Heimlich maneuver and then began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Chase survived, and that experience motivated Farley to start CHASE for Life, a nonprofit organization that stands for CPR, Heimlich, Awareness, Safety, Education.

"I'm in a place where my goal is for other people to have as happy of an ending as we had," she said. "I feel people are really receptive to our brand and to our mission because we are fueled by a positive ending."

Boyle is now working with the American Red Cross to help promote preparation and prevention in case of drowning or choking emergencies involving children, and on Aug. 6 she pitched her initiative to all of the regional Red Cross directors in New Jersey.

"I basically explained what our mission was, why there's a need for what we're doing, showed the film and told my personal story," Boyle said.

She has produced an 18-minute video, "How to Save a Life," which explains how to administer CPR and the Heimlich maneuver to children. The video is shown at hospitals within the Saint Barnabas Healthcare System and the Meridian Health System.

Tara Kelly, Jersey Coast Chapter CEO for the American Red Cross, hosted the Aug. 6 event in her Little Silver home. She said about 18 people attended.

"We invited some friends and family in the area, showed them this DVD and taught them essentially what to do if their child was choking or drowning," she said. "Many people were very interested in going forward in taking actual certification classes with the American Red Cross, which is our goal."

Boyle said about 85 percent of the people who attended the event were receptive to her pitch.

She said the Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., is reviewing her resources and if they give her the nod of approval, CHASE for Life will be present wherever the Red Cross is present. If accepted, her film would be posted on the Red Cross Web site, and would continue to be distributed for free.

On Oct. 18 Boyle will have another positive to celebrate: all the resources related to CHASE for Life will be translated into Spanish. She is also working to expand who is required to view the informational video.

Currently the film is offered to new mothers before they leave the maternity ward in about 17 hospitals across the state. It is available for closed-circuit viewing within the hospitals and is shown on loop in the pediatric ICU waiting room. She is also planning to pitch the idea of teenagers watching the video when they go to the motor vehicle agency for their licenses.

Though the video doesn't serve as a certification, Boyle said it provides basic training that can be used until lifesaving professionals can take over. She also wants people to use the video as a jumping board for learning more about prevention.

"Our goal [is] that people will feel like 'I'm empowered enough, I want to know how to save a child's life, but also know how to save an adult,' " she said.

Since Boyle started the organization she has had seven testimonials from people who have saved lives because of CHASE for Life. The first incident came 10 days after her first workshop in 2005 when a neighbor saved a relative from choking on food.

Since the organization's inception, Boyle has appeared on the "Today" show and has brought CHASE for Life into local schools.

For more information about CHASE for Life or to find out how to donate, visit www.chaseforlife.org.

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