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Lincoln Children’s Museum recognized for its cardiac emergency preparedness

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) — On Wednesday, the Lincoln Children’s Museum became the first organization in Nebraska that is not a school to be designated as Heart Safe.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even a child.

Knowing this, the museum contacted the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory).

The ADAM project awards the Heart Safe designation to organizations that have the appropriate training, equipment, and systems to respond to cardiac emergencies.

“You do it for the schools, but an organization like ours could participate and go through this training because we serve the youth here,” said Mandy Haase-Thomas, director of operations and engagement at the museum.

Time is of the essence during a cardiac event, which is why Project ADAM was born.

The project is named after Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old boy from Wisconsin who suffered a fatal sudden cardiac arrest in 1999 while playing high school basketball.

Adam’s family knows that access to an AED and immediate care could have saved his life.

More than 200 lives have been saved thanks to Project ADAM, according to its Nebraska coordinator, Kimberly Castellano.

“And that is increasing all the time,” he said. “The reason we think it’s going up is because schools or sites are responding. Because of this, they have the ability to get to the hospital. Once they could not get to the hospital.

Castellano has personal ties to this issue, suffering from cardiac arrest herself.

“I’ve been a heart patient for a long time,” he said. “I’ve been in Children’s Hospital for 58 years, so that was my passion. I retired from education and decided to go back and give back to the people who saved me. This warms my heart, literally.

Since 1999, more than 4,000 schools across the country have earned the Heart Safe designation, but Project ADAM said there’s more work to be done.

“When you think about first aid, CPR, administering an AED, that can be a scary situation for some people,” Haase-Thomas said. “One of the best things we’ve learned is to just do something because doing nothing could be fatal.”

And as the first non-school organization in the state to earn this title, the Lincoln Children’s Museum doesn’t want to be the only one.

At the end of the announcement, Lincoln challenged Omaha’s Children Museum to take charge of becoming the next Heart Safe.

The children’s hospital became affiliated with the ADAM project in 2022.

Their goal now is to welcome more than a dozen Nebraska schools and organizations over the next year, including baseball and football teams.

Tags: adam lemel, aed, aed training, cardiac arrest, cardiac emergencies, cardiac emergency, cardiac event, children’s hospital, children’s hospital and medical center, CPR, CPR training, first non-school organization, first aid, heart safe, heart safe designation, kimberly castellano, lincoln, lincoln children’s museum, mandy haase-thomas, nebraska, children’s museum of omaha, wisconsin teenager

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