‘Heart of Gold’

PRINCEVILLE — When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, life and death are only minutes apart. After 10 minutes, the chances of survival are slim to none. With the use of an AED in the first three minutes, however, chances of survival go up to 70 percent, according to Defibtech.

And yet there aren’t enough AEDs around the island, according to John Oszust, president of the Hanalei Bay Rotary Club.

To address that, the Hanalei Bay Rotary Club is hosting the 17th annual Black and White Ball at The St. Regis Princeville Resort on Dec. 3, with proceeds going to the purchase and installation of AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) on Kauai and Niihau.

“Saving lives is one of our key targets,” said Oszust.

The club’s primary goal is to get all schools on Kauai equipped with AEDs in case of emergencies.

“Some schools have (AEDs) here, but some on the North Shore don’t have and we need to supply them with AEDs,” Oszust said. “We’re hoping to gross over $100,000 from this event. We’re hoping to purchase 50 AEDs — they are close to $1,800 apiece. It’s going to be an ongoing thing, but this event really kicks off the fundraising for us.”

In his ninth year with the Rotary Club, Oszust is passionate about saving lives and hopes that the resources and funding the club is putting into this event pays off in lives saved.

“It’s a high-end event, we do put substantial effort into it,” Oszust said. “We spend a lot more resources in advertising and the promotion of it and we tend to get more out of it because of that. We try go over the top to get the same type of return out of it.”

When the Rotary Club began conducting CPR and AED training programs, Oszust realized how under-resourced the Garden Isle was. They hope to change that with money raised from the ball.

“It’s a major fundraiser every year for doing community projects and it raises money for our international projects,” Oszust said. “We usually have two fairly significant big fundraisers every year, but this is our signature one of the year. We want to dedicate the majority of funding raised this year called the ‘Heart of Gold’ campaign, which falls under the umbrella of our ‘Staying Alive’ program.”

While the ball is the club’s signature event of the year, Oszust stressed how vital other fundraising events are, including the organization’s garage sale, acknowledging the numerous events that will be announced in the new year.

“This is going to be one of major community events, but we will have others in the pipeline as well,” Oszust said.

Info: www.hanaleirotary.org.

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