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American Red Cross, Heart Team Partner to Save Lives
Posted: May 30, 2012

Fennville Community Unites to Honor Wes Leonard, Family

Lansing, MI – May 21, 2012 – The American Red Cross and The Heart Team are joining forces to help save lives by honoring Fennville High School Senior Wes Leonard who lost his life unexpectedly after making a game-winning shot to send the school’s basketball team to the State Regional playoffs.

The team fell to Schoolcraft High School, ending its "Run for Wes." The loss ended the team's season at 23 -1, short of the state title which Wes Leonard had openly claimed was his goal before his tragic demise on the court.

Doctors determined Wes Leonard suffered from arrythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. When he collapsed at Fennville High School on the night of March 3, 2011, there was a defibrillator about 50 feet from the gym – without a working battery. An automated external defibrillator or AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them throughdefibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

To help keep their son’s memory alive, the Leonards reached out to The Heart Team to help donate AEDs to schools and organizations in need.  The American Red Cross will be celebrating Wes’ life by holding a blood drive at the Fennville Community Center (FCC) on Friday, June 1 from Noon to 8 p.m.  All eligible donors are encouraged to call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit to make an appointment to help save lives.

Media representative and the general public are invited to attend a special press conference at 11 a.m. on June 1 at FCC.  Scheduled speakers include: Fennville Mayor Dan Rastall, American Red Cross CEO Sharon Jaksa, Maria Flores from The Heart Team, and Fennville Basketball Coach Ryan Klingler.  In addition, the Leonard family will be given an AED to present to the high school.

About the American Red Cross

The Great Lakes Blood Services Region serves 65 counties, and needs to collect about 700 units of blood a day to meet patient need in hospitals across the state. In addition to supplying nearly half of the nation’s blood, the American Red Cross teaches lifesaving skills, provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization—not a government agency—and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.


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