Proceeds from “Bolt for the Heart” run/walk to provide AEDs to first responders

Plans for “Bolt for the Heart,” an annual 5K family run/walk and half marathon event set for Sunday, Sept. 27 at Washington Park in Michigan City, include donating all of the net proceeds for the purchase of AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) for LaPorte County first responder vehicles.

A kickoff event Wednesday was hosted by event sponsor Franciscan Health Michigan City and attended by, among others, LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd and LaPorte Police Chief Paul Brettin. Boyd noted that LaPorte County is the second largest county, geographically, in the state. “We are first responders, and often times, we’re the first arriving on scene of a medical emergency,” Boyd said. “When seconds and minutes count, this will give us the opportunity to save countless lives.”

Also attending the kickoff was Julie West, founder of the Play For Jake Foundation, which will once again be a participating sponsor in the race. The foundation is named in honor of Jake West, a LaPorte High School football player who passed away suddenly during practice from an undetected heart condition. The organization aims to increase awareness and educate parents and youth about the dangers of undetected heart conditions, a goal that goes hand-in-hand with Bolt for the Heart.

One hundred percent of the net proceeds from sponsorships and tax-deductible registrations will go to purchasing the AEDs, Franciscan officials said.

Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni said his organization is committed to keeping race participants healthy and safe, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjustments to the race will include social distancing, hand sanitizing, face masks, as well as a virtual race option.

Online registration and sponsorship options for the Bolt for the Heart Family 5K/Half Marathon is now available at www.boltfortheheart.com.

Bolt for the Heart is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that raises money to buy AEDs for donation to first responders. Bolt has donated more than 2,000 AEDs to-date. In 2018, the goal to finish outfitting the entire Indiana State Police Patrol team with 134 AEDs was met. A total of 465 AEDs have now been donated to the state police.

“LaPorte County Law enforcement patrol cars and the sheriff’s team is the focus now as we partner with Franciscan Health to continue this work from the 23 AEDs donated in 2019,” officials said.

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