Keep the Beat
Vari Benson Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Project
In 2017, after Vari suffered a sudden cardiac death while playing a game of pickup basketball with friends, our founders were told that SCA was so rare that it was like lightning striking. Then, in 2019, lightning sturck again when Vari's godmother, Chanda Bradley, also suffered a sudden cardiac arrest which led to her death. Our founder, Lekesha Benson, understood that lightning was not supposed to strike in the same place twice. She then set out on a quest to educate herself and others about Sudden Cardiac Arrest and its prevention. As her son and co-founder, Jacory, began a battery of costly tests to ensure he was cleared to continue to play D1 sports, he remarked that it shouldn't cost so much to ensure a mother doesn't bury her child or that another kid doesn't lose their brother. And that is where our Keep the Beat Project began. Together, they created a comprehensive plan to bring awareness, provide education, provide prevention, and encourage appropriate, fast response for SCA.
What We Do
Our Keep the Beat Project is designed to be a comprehensive approach to address Sudden Cardiac Arrest. We recognize the disparities in survival as well, which is why our approach in addressing SCA from a health equity lens. Our first goal is to improve awareness for this, #1 cause of death of student athletes. Recognizing a SCA when it occurs as well as understanding the warning signs and risks is the first step to eradicating preventative SCA.
Our second approach is increasing access to preventative & responsive services. To do this, we offer low cost, preventative heart screenings, (ECG's or EKG's), to children and young adults ages 12-24 yrs old. We work with school districts to provide CPR training for students and certifications for community members throughout South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina. In recognizing the resuscitation disparities, we have worked diligently to remove barriers for underrepresented by providing CPR training in Spanish and English, free hands on training, low cost certifications, and strategically partnering with stakeholders in rural, low income, &/or underserved communities to ensure that everyone has access to services that will prevent, treat, & improve survival outcomes for Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Our philosophy has always been one of collaboration. As Helen Keller stated, "Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much!" That's why we've created a network of stakeholders, organizations, and individulas who work effectively work together to ensure that each individual has equitable access to the supports that they need to live their best lives. We'd like to highlight our partners who support our Keep the Beat Initative, ensuring that young hearts keep beating and that no other life is affected by Sudden Cardiac Arrest.