AEDs don’t just belong in gyms or near football fields. Cardiac arrest can happen at any time and any place, and there’s no reason to not be prepared.

It was that thought, along with her own personal tragedy, which inspired University of New Hampshire student and Alpha Xi Delta sister Andrea Karpinski to fight for the installation of an AED in her sorority house.

When Karpinski was just fifteen years old, her mother succumbed to a heart condition. Within three months, the same condition claimed the life of her older sister.

As if that wasn’t enough, Karpinski herself went into cardiac arrest while running on a treadmill. After being unconscious for nine minutes, she was revived by paramedics and ultimately had an ICD implanted in her chest to help combat heart arrhythmias.

It was at a community outreach dinner with her sorority that she had the opportunity to share her story with local firefighter Dave Blatchford. When she told him that she felt that her sorority house should have an AED installed, he vowed to do whatever he could to help her reach that goal.

It didn’t take long for Karpinski to get the support of her sorority sisters. For most of them, hearing her tell her story was all it took.

The sorority and the fire department put their heads together to come up with ideas for fundraising, and ultimately settled on selling t-shirts. It wasn’t long before they had exceeded their fundraising goal.

After convincing the sorority’s national housing organization that installing the AED presented no safety risks, Karpinski finally got what she was working for.

Last Friday, on April 25th, the AED was installed, and other sororities on campus have already expressed interest in following suit.

So kudos to Andrea Kaprinski, who took a personal tragedy and turned it into an opportunity to save lives.