Hospital donates $2,600 to 15-year-old student raising money for AEDs

The Alexandria Emergency Hospital staff paid a visit to ASH to make a donation for the purchase of a new automated external defibrillator for the school.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:38 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Fifteen-year-old Anniston Fairbanks is a walking miracle.

The teenage student at Alexandria Senior High School has a glowing personality and a heart of gold, but at a young age, she has experienced everyone’s worst nightmare, twice. Fairbanks has suffered a cardiac arrest two times, the first coming when she was just nine years old.

“It’s kind of rare,” said Fairbanks. “You don’t just go day by day. If somebody has the flu, you probably know somebody else that has the flu, but this isn’t really like that.”

Fairbanks is one of 350,000 Americans each year to experience a cardiac arrest, according to Michigan Health. She is in the 10 percent to have survived it.

Now, she is sharing her survival story to spread awareness to save those around her. On Jan. 6, Fairbanks’ father, Clifton, shared his daughter’s story on News Channel 5 and her life-saving mission to protect others. That heartwarming story caught the attention of the medical staff at Alexandria Emergency Hospital.

On Friday, Jan. 20, the staff paid a visit to Fairbanks at her high school to deliver a special surprise, a $2,685 donation to her fundraiser, “Saving Our Hearts,” to be able to purchase a new automated external defibrillator (AED) for ASH.

“To see the beaming smile on her face and her effort to help more people, again this is why we do what we do,” said Dr. Kelvin Spears, the Chief Medical Officer at AEH.

Adding a second AED to Alexandria Senior High is the next step for the school to become Rapides Parish’s first heart-safe school, a program put in place that is used to train staff and have the resources available in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.

“Seconds and minutes matter in whether or not a person will survive this or not,” said Dr. Spears. “That’s why AEDs are so important.”

However, Fairbanks’ mission is not just limited to her school. Her ultimate goal is to install more AEDs at every school in the parish so every student’s life is protected, just like hers.

“To know that if I start at ASH, I can move on to other schools in Rapides Parish, and if I finish Rapides Parish, I can move on to other schools in different parishes,” said Fairbanks. “Even if it just saves one life, that means a lot.”

Fairbanks’ “Saving Our Hearts” GoFundMe account has raised over $3,200. All proceeds will go towards more life-saving devices.

The Rapides Parish School Board said they have also received donations from those inspired by Fairbanks’ story.

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