TUPELO • Seven new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were donated to the Lee County School District during a presentation on Friday.

The new AEDs, which are used to shock the heart back into normal rhythm during a medical episode, were purchased with a $7,500 donation from the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi (HCF), which is the philanthropic arm of North Mississippi Health Services.

The donation was made on behalf of North Mississippi Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute and Orthopaedic Institute of North Mississippi.

Lee County superintendent Coke Magee told Steven Blaylock, HCF executive director of philanthropy, about the district’s need for additional AEDs on some campuses and he helped secure the donations.

Three of the devices will go to Shannon High School, two to Mooreville High School, one to Plantersville Middle School and one to Guntown Middle School. AEDs are already in place at Saltillo schools.

“We appreciate this generous gift to Lee County Schools from the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi,” Magee said. “Having AEDs available on more of our campuses means more coverage for our athletes or anyone who may have a medical emergency.”

Magee added that there’s never been a situation where an AED was needed on campus and there wasn’t one available. The addition of the new devices is to further guarantee that never happens.

“The Orthopaedic Institute works diligently to support our local athletic programs at no cost,” orthopedic surgeon Bryan Fagan said. “We believe in giving back to our communities. The ability to support not only the students at these schools, but also any community members who may be on the school campus, is a privilege.”

Shane Spees, president and CEO of North Mississippi Health Services, said the organization provides resources like the AEDs to schools as part of community outreach.

“Our mission as an organization is to continually improve the health of the people of our region,” Spees said. “Clearly, with the large number of people and with heart disease and heart attacks being so prevalent in our communities, we’re looking for every way possible to not only save a life but make a life better.”

blake.alsup@journalinc.com

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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