OLL Alumna, and founder of the non-profit, Aidan’s Heart Foundation (AHF), Christy Marshall Silva ’92 has been named as one of the 2018 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honorees. Silva founded AHF when her son Aidan passed away from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at seven years old. AHF’s mission is committed to providing awareness, education, and support to the communities of the southeast Pennsylvania region and its surrounding area to create heart-safe communities for youth regarding the prevention of and/or response to SCA. Silva was selected from a pool of 6,000 nominees, and as a finalist, AHF will be awarded $10,000, and will now compete for an additional $25,000.
According to a press release from L’Oréal Paris, Christy is one of 10 women in the country to receive this prestigious Women of Worth award this year, for her charitable efforts and perseverance in making a difference in her community.
On Labor Day Weekend in 2010, Christy Silva’s seven-year-old son Aidan suddenly collapsed, without warning, and died from unexplained SCA. Despite investigations by medical examiners and geneticists, the cause for the arrhythmia that “short-circuited” Aidan’s heart is still unknown. Christy and her husband soon learned that 70 percent of conditions that cause SCA in children can be detected by a simple, quick, non-invasive routine electrocardiogram, or EKG. In the midst of their personal tragedy, Christy was determined to take action and keep Aidan’s memory alive. She founded AHF to provide awareness, education, and support to the communities of the southeast Pennsylvania region and its surrounding area to create heart-safe communities for youth in the prevention of and/or response to SCA.
With Christy’s leadership, the Foundation has successfully coordinated the EKG screenings of 1,800 youths, detecting potentially life-threatening heart conditions that went previously undetected in 25 young people. An additional 15 percent of those screened were also referred for follow-up testing for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health-impacting conditions. The Foundation has helped passed state legislation (PA Act 35, known as “Aidan’s Law”) to ensure that all schools in Pennsylvania are equipped with updated AED devices – and trained more than 4,000 sixth-grade students and 400+ adults in life-saving CPR-AED skills. According to Christy, “Being a L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth means sharing life-saving information that will help other families learn how to avoid the tragedy of losing a loved one. Aidan may be gone but our work is keeping his legacy alive.”
According to AHF’s website, there are multiple ways they seek to prevent SCA. First, by partnering with pediatric cardiologists to screen hearts with EKG exams. Then, by contributing to the placement of AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) in places where youth engage in activities. In addition, coordinating with their local medical professionals to teach youth, parents, teachers, and coaches CPR and AED certifications for free. As well as, by promoting legislative efforts to protect students’ hearts in schools. Lastly, they raise awareness of SCA and provide resources for the community.
So far AHF has many accomplishments. They have purchased over 70 AED’s for local schools, youth-based organizations, and youth athletic leagues. (In addition, they have screened 1,800 youths, detecting in approximately 20 youths “potentially life-threatening” heart conditions.
UPDATE: At the awards ceremony on December 5, 2018, Christy was named the winner of the 2018 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award! A tremendous accomplishment and as part of her award, Christy receives an additional $35,000 in prize money for Aidan’s Heart Foundation. What a wonderful opportunity for her to continue and expand upon all the wonderful work she is doing.
#lorealpartner #WomenofWorth #voteforChristy #AidansHeartFoundation