The decision of a 12-year-old girl to donate a defibrillator to her school last year led to a life being saved in Santiago, Chile this past Rosh Hashana.
It began last year when Shmarya Plotkin, who is an instructor for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, decided to provide first aid and CPR training to the staff of each Jewish school in Montreal.
As his project grew, he realized the need for each school to have a defibrillator, which delivers a therapeutic dose of electric current to the heart. This reestablishes the body’s natural pacemaker, often saving lives. These cost between $1,500-$2,000 each.
In reality each school needs three defibrillators, but thanks to Plotkin’s fundraising, several of these devices have been placed in Jewish schools across Montreal.
When Plotkin approached his friend Ari Schwartz to ask if he would help sponsor a defibrillators, he noted that Schwartz’s daughter Esty was going to turn 12, and proposed a partial sponsorship in honor of her Bas Mitzvah.
Schwartz sat down with his daughter that evening and asked if she would like a nice gift valued at the cost of the defibrillator or if she would prefer to donate the life-saving device to her school.
“She immediately said that she’d rather get the defibrillator,” Schwartz told Bill613 last December. “As a parent, this makes me very happy. She left a good example and hopefully others will follow her lead and do this as well.”
The story was covered in the media, which Schwartz, who had moved to Montreal from Santiago, Chile, shared with his friends and family back home.
Last summer, a cousin of Schwartz, who was in the process of founding the Hatzolah volunteer ambulance service of Santiago, brought Esty Schwartz’s story to a potential donor.
The donor was so inspired by her actions, that he decided to sponsor a defibrillator to Hatzolah of Chile.
On Rosh Hashana, just two weeks after the defibrillator was donated to Hatzolah of Chile, someone went into cardiac arrest. Schwartz’s cousin responded to the call and used the new defibrillator to save his life.
“Sometimes when you do good deeds, you don’t realize the ripple effect, and how far reaching it is,” said Plotkin. “Because of Esty Schwartz’s kind actions to her school, a Jew in Chile is alive today.”