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Students Raise Money for Three AEDs for Local Schools

Katelynn Houghton's brother died of sudden cardiac arrest while at school. She was motivated to try to get one in her school's gymnasium.

Hardin Middle School eighth graders Alex Philipp and Katelynn Houghton started out hoping to raise enough funds to buy an automated external defibrillator for the gymnasium at their school. 

Thanks to their efforts, Hardin Middle, St. Charles High and St. Charles West High Schools will each have an AED in their gyms. 

Houghton's efforts to make sure gymnasiums have an AED were inspired by her brother, DJ Chastain. 

He died from sudden cardiac arrest while in gym class at Silex High School. Although the school had an AED, it wasn't close by when Chastain needed it. 

Houghton said she wrote about her brother for a class at Hardin Middle School and a teacher suggested she try to bring the proposal to the principal. 

Principal Ed Gettemeier showed a video about Houghton's efforts at the school's Family Fun Night, according to a story in the Suburban Journals. Hougton and her friend Philipp raised nearly enough money to cover the cost of the AED—$1,200. 

St. Charles County Paramedic Jeremy Hunsel saw a news story about Philipp and Houghton's efforts and thought it would be the perfect project for the St. Charles County EMS Outreach. 

Hunsel, a graduate of the St. Charles School District, and the outreach group funded the rest of the money for an AED and donated a second one to the district. A local businessman donated a third AED. 

On Thursday, Hunsel presented the AED to Houghton and Philipp at the St. Charles Board of Education meeting. 

Each of the schools in the district has one AED located in a central location, but having one at the high schools and Hardin Middle will allow the district some flexibility, such as bringing it out to a football game. 

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