Kim Howse, centre, and other members of CrossFit Qualicum Beach celebrate the gym’s recent fundraiser that collected $2,675 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Howse’s parents also donated an Automated External Defibrillator to the gym after a health scare. — Adam Kveton Photo

Qualicum Beach gym raises cash for Heart and Stroke

Cardiac arrest spurs Automated External Defibrillator donation

Many illnesses and diseases can be prevented through a healthy, active lifestyle, but when faced with an emergency, it’s good to be prepared.

CrossFit Qualicum Beach spent Wednesday, Nov. 1, celebrating life and good health, while raising funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Kim Howse, a CrossFit trainer working at the facility, was inspired to organize the fundraising event as the cause is close to her heart.

Feb. 23, 2013 started off like any other Saturday for her family. But after coming home from a brisk morning walk, her Dad, John Kolesar, didn’t feel so well and asked her Mom, Robyn, to call 911.

What they didn’t know was that three days earlier, he had had the same symptoms. Feeling concerned and curious, Kolesar had looked them up in an old medical book. When he felt them again after his walk, he knew to call for an ambulance.

When the paramedics arrived, Kolesar went into cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, the first responders were able to save his life using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Events like these change the course of a life, said Howse, and this gift of life left her parents inspired to give back.

Learning the positive, healthy impact CrossFit Qualicum Beach has had on Howse, her husband Chris and their two school-aged sons, Johnathan and Nicholas, John and Robyn Kolesar decided to purchase and donate an AED to the facility, paying it forward in the best way possible.

To honour this donation and raise both funds and awareness, the event hosted Nov. 1 was called “Heart Beat Down.” Athletes arrived to their class with pledge money in hand, ready to complete a challenging partner workout.

As a member of the CrossFit Qualicum Beach community, Qualicum Beach Fire Department Chief Darryl Kohse attended every class to speak about the basics of CPR, how to use an AED, and the signs and symptoms of both heart attack and stroke.

In the end, CFQB raised a total of $2,675 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. CFQB would like to inform the Qualicum Beach community at large that if residents are near the facility on First Avenue and find themselves in an emergency situation, to please call 911, and then take advantage of access to the gym’s AED, first aid supplies or their staff members, who are all trained in Standard First Aid and CPRC.

— Submitted by Kim Howse

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