Mother-daughter duo Marsha Boeschen, left, and Melissa Guffin are proponents of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and are members of the Bothwell Foundation’s Wear Red committee. The foundation’s Wear Red luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 28 at The Venue in downtown Sedalia. 

Marsha Boeschen was 13 when her life changed forever after she found her father dead from a sudden heart attack. Little did she know then just how much heart disease would become a part of her life.

“My father was only 61 when he died in 1966,” she said. “He had an enlarged heart and we didn’t know it.”

In the 2000s, Boeschen’s father-in-law had quadruple bypass surgery, and in 2011, her family’s world turned upside down when her son, Matt, had a heart attack at the age of 36 while living in Mississippi. 

“Matt went into full cardiac arrest and his wife, Shannon, gave him CPR until the county’s first responders arrived,” she said. “It was such a blessing that Shannon had renewed her CPR certification a few weeks earlier.”

To save Matt’s life, first responders used an automated external defibrillator (AED). An AED is a small, lightweight device that allows first responders and even individuals to treat sudden cardiac arrest by delivering a shock to the victim’s chest, ideally restarting their heart. 

“It was the first time they had used the AED, which had been donated to them by a local nonprofit organization,” Boeschen said.

In 2013, Boeschen’s daughter, Melissa Guffin, had an angiogram that revealed two heart anomalies, and Marsha had a heart attack. The heart catheter procedure she had at Bothwell Regional Health Center revealed 99% blockage in two arteries and 95% blockage in the third. In late 2015, Marsha’s husband, Ronnie, had triple bypass heart surgery.

“To say that our family is grateful for Bothwell and the cath lab would be an understatement,” Guffin said. “This is why my mom and I are on the (Bothwell Foundation’s) Wear Red committee, and I am involved with the foundation’s Lub Dub walk/run. Anything we can do to raise funds for the cardiac cath lab, we will do.” 

The Bothwell Foundation, in partnership with Bothwell Regional Health Center and Missouri Heart Center, will sponsor a “Wear Red” luncheon for women from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 28 at The Venue in downtown Sedalia. The event will feature a heart-healthy meal prepared by Chris Paszkiewicz, Ivory Grille executive chef, a keynote speech by Dr. Mozow Zuidema, a cardiologist at Missouri Heart Center in Columbia, and a silent auction including a variety of red purses.

Funds from the event will be used to purchase AEDs for high-traffic locations in Pettis County. The price of an AED varies by make and model, but most cost between $1,500 and $2,000. The foundation has worked with the Pettis County Ambulance District to identify more than 10 locations in Sedalia where people live, work, play or pray. 

“It’s really gratifying to be part of an event that will raise money to buy AEDs for places in and around Sedalia,” Boeschen said. “It’s like coming full circle from Matt’s experience with an AED that saved his life. We’re really happy that 100% of the funds raised will stay in Pettis County and benefit the people who live here.”

For more information about the Wear Red luncheon or to purchase tickets, visit brhc.org/2020wearred.






Life-saving devices in plain sight

According to a large-scale AED study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the majority of sudden cardiac arrest victims have good chances of survival under certain common conditions, including that the sudden cardiac arrest is witnessed, the collapse occurs in a large public place, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is handy, and bystanders use CPR and the AED.

The Pettis County Ambulance District has identified the top locations in the area that should have an AED on the premises. 

• Pettis County Courthouse

• Best Western State Fair Inn

• Sedalia Police Department Headquarters

• Sedalia Housing Authority

• Pettis County Sheriff’s Office

• Sedalia Shrine Club

• Sedalia Country Club

• Bothwell State Park

• Liberty Center Association for the Arts

• VFW Post 2591 / Elks Lodge / Sedalia Moose Lodge (equal priority)

• Dey Baseball Field at Liberty Park Stadium

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