Leanne Barnes knows first-hand how important heart health is – her daughter had a heart transplant when she was just five years old. Now she’s a healthy 7 year old enjoying junior school at Whenuakite School, but mum Leanne is well aware of the impact of heart issues.
“Because cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. We have so many people in our area and passing by, that it seemed like a good idea to have an AED on site. Our principal was keen to get a defib for our school and I remembered seeing something about your Become a Heart Saver competition so I went on to your website,” explains Leanne.
Whenuakite School is semi-rural primary school with 120 students and is located on the main highway, 20 minutes out of Whitianga. Hundreds of people whizz past each day, on their way to Whitianga, Hot Water Beach or Hahei.
“We’re semi rural but it’s quite a central point with quite a few people both passing through and living here,” says Leanne. “There’s not very good cellphone reception and getting to the AED at Cooks Beach is an hour round-trip, so it really makes sense to have one there that the community and users of the school can access.”
The school are looking at getting a cabinet so locals and passersby can access it outside of school hours.
“It means so much to have it there for our community. It’s one of those things you just want to have but hope you never have to use it. It’s awesome to be able to look out for everyone in the community in this way. The principal is extremely thankful. It’s a win for all of us – everyone was so excited when they heard, saying congratulations when they saw me! It’s more exciting than I thought it would be,” she laughs.