February marks American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart health and celebrate organizations doing their part to keep hearts beating strong. Among these heroes is GOLDLAW Founder & CEO Craig Goldenfarb, whose non-profit, Heart of the Game/HOTG (heartgame.org), is on a mission to ensure young athletes have a fighting chance in the face of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Personal Tragedies Spark a Lifesaving Legacy
For Goldenfarb, the mission of HOTG is deeply personal. At 17, he witnessed the near-death of his father from a sudden cardiac arrest. Years later, tragedy struck again when a fellow soccer player passed away from the same condition on the field after a game. These events instilled in him the stark reality of how precious and frail life is, especially on the playing field. He realized that readily available AEDs could be the difference between life and death in such situations.
Bringing AEDs to the Playing Field
Driven by this conviction, Goldenfarb founded HOTG in 2016. The non=profit focuses on providing FREE AEDs to community centers and athletic facilities where young people play sports. This focus is crucial because tragically, SCA is the leading cause of death among young athletes in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 2,000 individuals under the age of twenty-five annually.
HOTG brings more than just Defibrillators: Building Confidence and Knowledge
HOTG recognizes that simply supplying AEDs is not enough. The organization also provides comprehensive educational resources and training programs to empower communities to use these life-saving devices effectively. The training dispels myths and misconceptions surrounding AED use, building confident and ensuring individuals are prepared to act in critical moments.
A Local Impact with National Significance
There is no question HOTG has made a significant impact. In 2023 alone, 23 AEDs were donated to 17 organizations all over the state of Florida, including:
While the focus today is local, Heart of the Game’s mission resonates nationwide. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), only 12% of SCA victims survive, often due to the lack of immediate defibrillation. Organizations like HOTG are crucial in bridging this gap and improving these survival rates.
Join the Fight for Healthy Hearts!
American Heart Month is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with organizations like Heart of the Game and the American Heart Association in the fight for healthier hearts. Here are some ways you can get involved:
The website offers secure donation options to support this life-saving work!
Volunteer Your Time
Spread the word about SCA and the importance of AEDs on social media and within your community.
Taking care of your own heart is critical! Follow the AHA’s recommendations for a healthy diet, regular exercise, and managing stress.
A Beacon of Hope: Craig Goldenfarb’s Vision for the Future
Craig Goldenfarb envisions a future where every young athlete plays on a field or court equipped with an AED, and were communities are empowered to respond effectively in the face of an SCA emergency. With continued support and dedicated efforts, Heart of the Game and organizations like it can turn this vision into reality, ensuring that a love for sports does not end in tragedy.
Remember, every action, whether a donation, a volunteer hour, or simply spreading awareness, contributes to this life-saving mission. This February, take action and join the fight for healthy hearts. Let’s ensure that every young athlete has the chance to love, play, and thrive.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
We are blessed to be able to provide the equipment and training
to help our youth stay healthy and active.”
Craig Goldenfarb, Founder & President, Heart of the Game, Inc.