TACOMA, Wash. – A Tacoma mother lost a daughter and turned her pain into a fight to put lifesaving equipment into schools.
"It's been a little over 10 years, and I still cannot wrap my mind around that this can happen," said Tamela McBride.
Her daughter Kiki McBride was a freshman at Foss High School and all-around healthy when she collapsed during basketball tryouts in November 2005. She was under cardiac arrest.
"I knew it was bad, because they pushed me back, and would not let me get in the ambulance with her,” McBride said. “So I drove behind the ambulance watching them do CPR on my daughter, because they used an AED to start her heart, but by then it was too late."
An AED gives the heart an electrical shock. Foss High School didn’t have an AED at the time.
"After 10 minutes, there's basically no chance to start the heart, and it took the ambulance 12 minutes,” McBride said.
McBride believes Kiki may have had a better chance of survival had the school had immediate access to an AED. So she turned her grief into an effort to make sure what happened to Kiki won't happen to other kids.
"Sudden cardiac arrest is the No. 1 killer for youth athletes that what most people do not know," she said.
Through her volunteer work with the Puget Sound Heart Project, the organization has raised about $90,000 to put AEDs in all Tacoma public schools. Sheridan Elementary School received an AED Friday, and all elementary schools will have them by the end of this school year.
"This is the last phase of this project, but we're going to continue, and hopefully have heart screenings for athletes at the school available for some time soon," said McBride.
It's her way to keep giving and spreading awareness.
"When you lose a child, the best way to describe it is it breaks your spirit for life,” McBride said. “But you have to keep going."