- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Donations from former Vice President Dick Cheney, no stranger to cardiac complications, and his wife, Lynne V., will help provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to organizations in the District.

Their goal is to increase survival rates for people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a leading cause of death in the United States each year. For every minute a person suffering from SCA goes without defibrillation therapy, the survival rate decreases by 7 percent to 10 percent, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association.

The ReStart DC program of the Cheney Cardiovascular Institute at George Washington University already has distributed 50 Philips HeartStart AEDs to local groups where large numbers of people gather, such as houses of worship and senior and community centers. Another 150 are expected to be delivered this year.

Mr. and Mrs. Cheney established the Cheney Cardiovascular Institute in 2006 with a $2.7 million donation.

The institute’s emergency medicine department contacts an organization once it is enrolled in the ReStart program, delivers the equipment and provides three hours of training in CPR and AED usage.

“Our objective to make sure as many people as possible see the demo, because then they will be confident in using it, even if they haven’t had formal training,” says Danielle Piacente, a spokeswoman for the program.

“Whether a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest lives or dies can depend on whether an automated external defibrillator is close by. These devices, now so easy to use, save lives, and the Cheney Cardiovascular Institute wants to see them as widely available as possible,” Mrs. Cheney says.

Organizations interested in requesting equipment should visit www.restartdc.org.

Back to Rwanda

Local filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson, the winner of a 2008 Student Academy Award for her documentary “As We Forgive,” will return to Rwanda on July 4 for the Rwandan premiere of the film hosted by President Paul Kagame.

” ‘As We Forgive’ is a powerful portrayal of forgiveness after genocide,” Mr. Kagame said. “It is a movie about hope arising from the ashes of genocide - a film that should be shown to everyone. It will change the way people think about Rwanda - and themselves.”

Ms. Hinson will continue to travel the U.S. with screenings of the film, which will be shown on PBS affiliates nationwide on July 15. It will be released on DVD this fall.

For more information, go to www.asweforgivemovie.com.

Arts for Awareness

The Wentworth Galleries at Pentagon City, Tysons Galleria and Westfield Montgomery Mall will welcome artist Lauren Voiers with exhibitions of her work on Saturday and Sunday.

Miss Voiers, 18, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 13, and wants to bring mental illness among young people to the forefront.

She tells The Washington Times that before her diagnosis she experienced bouts of depression so intense that she could not eat or leave her room. Encouraged by her artist father, she took up painting.

“It was a relief to be able to do something constructive when I was angry or upset,” explains Miss Voiers, a California native who now lives in Cleveland. “I would go in a quiet room, turn on some music and paint.”

Miss Voiers says her artwork has been both inspiration and therapy for her. She has been on medication, but currently is able to manage without it, thanks to her hobby.

Miss Voiers plans to work with children at Girls & Boys Clubs of America to teach them about mental illness and the joy of painting.

For more information, visit www.wentworth gallery.com.

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