A stand-alone defibrillation station like this one, housing a public-use automated external defibrillator, was vandalized in Bluffton recently and the AED stolen. A fundraising campaign has been started to replace them. SUBMITTED

Over Memorial Day weekend, two automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were stolen, one from the New River Linear Trail and one from the Alljoy public dock. The public access defibrillation stations, where they were located, were also vandalized.

Automated external defibrillators are vital during sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) to increase the chance of survival and reduce the likelihood of cardiac death. During a cardiac event, with CPR alone the chance of survival stands at 9%; however, with CPR and the use of an AED combined, this chance increases to more than 50%.

Collins Group Realty is leading a campaign to raise the funds necessary to replace the stolen AEDs. Each defibrillator costs $1,800, plus there are repair costs for the defibrillation stations.

The goal is to raise $4000 to replace both units. Every dollar donated makes a difference and goes directly towards saving lives.

“In the world of real estate, we are all about building and supporting community … and hearing the story about the stolen AEDs showed an immediate opportunity to patch a senseless rip in the community fabric,” said Chip Collins, Collins Group Realty owner and broker-in-charge. “There’s no telling exactly who is going to benefit from the AEDs – only that when they do, they will help save lives. What’s more important than that?”

There are two ways to donate: Visit Collins Group Realty’s Facebook page and click on the AED GoFundMe campaign, or visit bit.ly/ReplaceAEDs.

Donations are 100% tax deductible and go directly to Arrhythmia Alliance, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Arrhythmia Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of patients, caregivers, clinicians, healthcare professionals, policy makers, allied professionals and all those interested in or affected by cardiac arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders). The organization seeks to improve diagnosis, expand treatment, and enhance quality of life for all those affected by cardiac arrhythmias. For more information, visit heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/us/defibs-save-lives.