In Loving Memory of Kimberly Anne Gillary ~ August 21, 1984 - April 3, 2000
"Our school is on the most remote inhabited island in the Great Lakes, so having an AED available could make all the difference in a critical situation. Typical turn around time between an incident and mainland attention is 40 minutes minimum and more likely 120 minutes. Weather conditions, of course, may cause longer delays. Our school is in a great position to accept your offer and to implement an AED Program. All of our high school students are currently certified in CPR through our Allied Health Course, so we will simply add the AED training to that course. Please let me know what we need to do to move this project forward and schedule the necessary training. And thank you again for giving our school the opportunity to provide a more safe play and work environment for our students, employees and community." - Kathleen McNamara, Superintendent/ Principal, Beaver Island Community School "On behalf of Lansing Eastern High School, it is our privilege to be a recipient of an AED from the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation. I am sure your daughter is looking down on you with a smile and thanking you for your determination in educating schools about the importance of cardiac screening. We have several students at Eastern High School who have bee deemed "at risk" and it is our hope also that your work be carried out. Again, we thank you for allowing us to make Eastern a safer environment for not only students, but also staff and visitors alike." - Pamela Backus-Diggs, Principal, Lansing Eastern High School "In 2004, Traverse City Area Public Schools received an AED from the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation for each of our three high schools. Since that time, we have expanded our program to include AEDs for three elementary schools, two junior high schools, our administration building, and our bus garage buildings. In each of our buildings that have the AEDs we have trained teams of staff members in CPR and AED use. This training is coordinated by their school nurse to ensure that responders are available to take appropriate action in an emergency. Our school district plans to expand our AED Program to all other schools and facilities in our district and we continue to look for funding to do so. Hopefully in the near future we will have AEDs at all of our sites. On behalf of the Board of Education and our staff and students we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation for their generous gift, which was instrumental in starting our program. We would also like to thank the Foundation for turning an immense personal tragedy into a positive and lasting memory which benefits school districts across the State of Michigan. - James G. Feil, Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools "After reading about your Foundation two years ago, our school implemented a policy that requires all athletic coaches to successfully complete the American Heart Association HeartSaver Adult/Child and Infant CPR/AED training as a condition of employment. We also offered the same course to all of our staff at the school. 100% of the administration and 95% of the teachers and teacher aides have successfully completed the AHA HeartSaver CPR/AED course. All of the students in our 9th grade health class completed the same training. On staff we have a certified American Heart Association BLS instructor who is available to provide recertification courses and to assist in oversight of the AED Program. - Daniel Nurmi, Principal, North Dickinson County School "During my tenure as principal at Clintondale High School, I was fortunate to have been informed of the initiative sponsored by the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation. Approximately 10 years ago, having been moved by a tragic event and impressed with the goals of the Foundation, I decided to pursue the initial offer of a free AED. The arrival of our first AED stimulated great interest in the program and the benefits of the goals for the Clintondale Schools community. Staff, students, and parents were motivated to organize and raise over $10,000 to ensure that every building in the district was equipped with at least one AED. We have furthered our coverage with the purchase of portable units to accompany field trips and away athletic events. Our high school, the focal point of many community events, is equipped with four units. Fortunately, to date, we have not had the need to put to use any of our machines. However, there is a significant sense of well-being knowing that the machines are available and our staff is knowledgeable with its operations. We have the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation to thank for that extra sense of security. We, once again, thank the Foundation for the original donation and more importantly for the awareness of the potential need and possible life-saving opportunities to our community. We continue our total support and wish the Foundation continued success." - Mitchell L. Ritter, Assistant Superintendent, Clintondale Community Schools "I am writing on behalf of the Divine Child Catholic High School and we want to express our thanks in receiving a gift of an AED. Divine Child was one of the first schools to be a recipient of an AED through the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation. We have had the AED in our school for about 6 years. During this time we have certified every freshman with Adult CPR and AED training. Approximately 2,000 students have received training over these 6 years. I never had the pleasure of meeting Kimberly or see her swim, but it is so important that her memory lives on by giving the gift of a defibrillator. When we teach CPR in the school we talk about Kimberly as an athlete and as a good young person. We have not had to use the defibrillator, but through the training a few of our students have saved lives by performing abdominal thrusts and CPR. In the event an incident does happen within the school we have a much better chance of saving a life with the use of a defibrillator. Our school, like most, has students with some serious health issues including serious heart disorders. The parents of these students rest easier knowing the school has a defibrillator. I would like to encourage donors to please consider a contribution to the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation so we can ensure that every school in Michigan can have this life saving device." - Patricia Poirer, Divine Child Catholic High School "I want to thank you for the donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Cadillac Heritage High School. We are truly appreciative of your generosity and I personally know the value it will be to have an AED available for our school. Some years ago, an 18 year old cousin of mine had just finished pitching a baseball game for a Flint, Michigan high school. He told his coach he did not feel well and then collapsed; his heart stopped. His parents were at the game, his mother a trauma nurse. They did everything they could to revive Chad, but could not. The medical people involved in this incident indicated that if an AED had been available, he probably would have survived. So, from a personal experience, thank you for this gift. We trust that we will not have to use it, but we do know that by having an AED available, it could mean saving a life. - William D. Goodwill, Administrator, Cadillac Heritage Christian School "I would like to personally offer my sincere gratitude to the Gillarys for what they are doing on a statewide scale. I have a great compassion for their motivational story of their daughter and her fate. My son received a heart transplant on the first day of school this year from Children's Hospital of Michigan after two years of waiting. He had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and set the record at Children's for the largest, thickest heart ever transplanted there. He was lucky to have an ICD (implanted cardio defibrillator) which saved his life in his hospital room and twice on the operating table waiting for his new heart. He most certainly could have had the same fate as Kimberly Anne. I know that this was possible at his school, Michigan Technical Academy High School, during the years that an AED was not on campus. For my son, other students, and staff members with cardiac issues, and untold visitors to our campus, I wish I could fully express my thankfulness for this incredible lifesaving too." - M. Taunya Gaston, Administrative Assistant, Michigan Technical Academy "We are honored that your organization chose to donate an AED for our school. As you can imagine, a school with our small size has a difficult time funding programs and equipment. The fact is, an AED has been out of our reach financially. Thanks to the initiative of your Foundation, we are thankful that we will be more prepared in the event of a cardiac arrest of one of our students or staff. We are looking forward to training five members of our staff to use this equipment to its full potential. Again, thank you for choosing Lakeshore Baptist Academy. We are humbled and thankful for your generosity. God bless you." - Mark Green, Administrator, Lakeshore Baptist Academy On October 24, 2007, an AED donated by the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation to Davison High School was used to save the life of 17 year old student Ashley Palmer. Ashley had been diagnosed 18 months earlier with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the same condition that caused Kimberly's cardiac arrest. Luckily for Ashley, the school had a defibrillator donated by the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation. Staff members reached Ashley within just minutes of her collapse and found her not breathing and without a pulse. Acting on the training they received earlier that year, the four staff members quickly hooked Ashley up to the AED and used the defibrillator and CPR to restart her heart and breathing. Lori Ayers, Ashley's mother, said a Hurley Medical Center doctor credited the quick work and defibrillator for saving her daughter's life October 24th outside the school. "If the defibrillator had not been there, she would have been gone", Ayers told the School Board. "I want to thank you all so much. I hope all the schools have it. Thank you so much for saving my daughter."
(Excerpt taken from the Flint Journal, November 6, 2007, James L. Smith)
On April 22, 2009, 67 year old Larry Ratkowski of the Hamilton area suffered a cardiac arrest between baseball games at a freshman double-header between Holland and Hamilton high schools. Bystanders performed CPR and restarted his heart with the school's defibrillator. His son, Mike Ratkowski, said a doctor at Holland Hospital was convinced that the quick action had saved Larry's life. "He made a special point to say that if it wasn't for the CPR and the defibrillator, my dad wouldn't be here today," Mike said. His father is known in the Hamilton community as one of the men who marks first downs at the high school football games.
(HollandSentinel.com; April 25, 2009)
The Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation donated the AED to Hamilton High School in February of 2006 with funds raised from a charity raffle held during the 2005 Michigan State Championships of Cowboy Action Shooting in Port Huron over Labor Day weekend. We were encouraged to find out that since the incident, the Hamilton school district has decided to purchase 3 additional AEDs to place in strategic locations throughout the district. They have also purchased an AED training device and currently have a certified trainer on staff that will assist with the training.
"On June 10, 2013, just a day prior to the end of our school year, a student at Traverse City Central High School went into cardiac arrest and collapsed. Central High School has an Automated External Defibrillator that was given to us by your generous foundation.
With the AED and heroic efforts by staff and our police liaison officer the student was revived and his prognosis is good!
We are so fortunate and thankful to have the AED! We are aware that when you suffered the terrible loos of your daughter Kimberly Anne, you chose to take action to help ensure that other parents don't have to feel the same pain. This family has their son due in large part to your actions and donation of the AED!
We cannot thank you enough!
Rick Vandermolen, Princpal"
(L-R) Lori Ayers, Ashley Palmer, Randy Gillary, Jiri Fischer & Sue Gillary
Ashley Palmer was honored by the Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation at Kimberly's Gift Gala at the Detroit Athletic Club on April 11, 2008.
Jiri Fischer, former Detroit Red Wings Defenseman and Cardiac Arrest Survivor, was the featured speaker at Kimberly's Gift Gala.
100% of all donations are used
to purchase AEDs and training
for Michigan Schools.