Robert Roy is the Founder/President of the Travis R. Roy Sudden Cardiac Arrest Fund (www.thetravisfund.org), an organization dedicated to the memory of his son, Travis. Travis lost his life to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at age 14 and the foundation is dedicated to increase placement of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in schools. On May 20, 2005 Travis Roy collapsed at his middle school. He suffered SCA caused by a previously undiagnosed heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. EMS Safety Services is touched by his story and cause and wants to introduce him to our Instructor network.
How has this experience shaped your view of emergency response training and public access to defibrillation?
I have always had a favorable view of emergency response training. A school employee started CPR on Travis when he collapsed and continued until paramedics arrived. Even though Travis went 23 minutes without defibrillation, it wasn’t because EMS didn’t get there quickly. They responded within 5 minutes of the call. It was because the school didn’t have an AED. That is what needs to change. AEDs need to be as common as fire extinguishers. Statistics show that you are 100 times more likely to need a defibrillator than a fire extinguisher. It is required by law to have a fire extinguisher in every public facility. There should be an AED right next to every fire extinguisher.
The motto for your fund is “Raising awareness so others may survive.” What are other goals of the Travis Fund?
I really want AEDs to be in all public facilities. We’re focusing on schools at the moment but I want them to be everywhere. We’ve been fortunate enough to donate a few AEDs to public facilities. We also want to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest. We want people to know that it is the leading cause of death but there is an easy way to mitigate the losses. We would like to see CPR as a graduation requirement. Kids should come out of school knowing the skills to save a life.
How has the Travis Fund impacted others?
The Travis Fund has been responsible for the placement of 119 AEDs. We know of one life saved as a result of an AED placement in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. A teacher was certified as a result of the AEDs placed at the school and one evening she was at the gym and a man on a treadmill went into SCA. She performed CPR and the man was revived. We definitely count that as a win for the Travis Fund!
What accomplishment of the Travis Fund are you most proud?
To see the deployment of AEDs in the Temecula Valley Area. Every school now has one. Knowing that a family won’t have to experience what we are still going through – it never goes away. We are going to be hurting every day but doing what I do and increasing understanding and getting people trained is what gets me through the day.
What actions can students, parents and community members take to support your mission?
Get certified! Beyond that, find out if their school district has
defibrillators. We can help get AEDs placed in any school district. Another way is through donations. Any donation can be earmarked for a certain school and we are a 501C3 tax deductible organization. To donate to the Travis Fund, visit http://thetravisfund.org/
Bob Roy with an AED donated to Oak Grove Institute in Murrieta, CA
Bob spoke of an organization that helped him when he and his family needed it most. The Parent Heart Watch is a network of parents and families dedicated to reducing SCA in youth. The program was established by parents who have lost a child to SCA. Members visited Bob and his family after the death of Travis. From the Parent Heart Watch website, “through our dedicated network, we are turning our tragedy into positive actions that will save young lives across the nation.” For more information, visit http://www.parentheartwatch.org/