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Milford student doesn’t miss a beat

MILFORD, CT — For Brandon DiCicco, 13, Milford lives count, and it’s those three words that fuel the East Shore Middle School student to do whatever he can to save a life.

Brandon was reading a news article last year about a girl collapsing in the hallway of her school, and her heart stopped. An alert gym teacher used an automated external defibrillator (AED) and shocked her heart back into rhythm.

Brandon, who was planning to undertake a service project in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah, learned the only schools in the city to have AED’s are Jonathan Law and Joseph A. Foran high schools. He decided to try and come up with the money to purchase one for his school.

He designed wrist bracelets that feature the phrase “Milford Lives Count,” and “I saved a life today.”

He paid $354 to purchase 1,000 bracelets, and received permission from Principal Catherine Williams to sell them before and after school for $2 each.

Brandon said he used his own money to purchase the bracelets because he felt so strongly about the AED. In the winter Brandon branched out and sold the bracelets at Wal-Mart and Stop & Shop.

He said many people donate $5 or $10 and don’t even take a bracelet. His largest donation to date is $50. Brandon said he’s selling the bracelets for one reason: to save a life.

After several months, Brandon amassed $1,100 and paid $800 to the Survival Group of North Haven for an AED. He received a discounted price from the business, and last week Milford firefighters came to the school and mounted the AED near the gymnasium.

Brandon, who plays baseball, football and lacrosse, says he’s satisfied but the mission is far from accomplished. His goal is to raise about $10,000 to $14,000 to purchase AED’s for the remaining 10 city schools.

An AED is a machine that delivers an electric current to shock heart muscle when it stops and goes into ventricular fibrillation. This shock increases a person’s chance of survival during sudden cardiac arrest. The quicker a person is shocked the better the survival chance.

It’s typically used on people over the age of 8, but Brandon said adults also use the gym and athletic facilities at the schools.

Brandon’s mother, Samantha, said as a nurse it’s wonderful what her son is doing.

His father, Bill, said his son always wants to help people.

Brandon, who served on the mayor’s youth committee for people with disabilities, has volunteered at the Beth el Shelter, and cooks at a shelter in New London. He has also raised money for those with special needs.

Fire Capt. Chris Zak said Brandon contacted the fire department to learn about which AED was the best to purchase.

“Brandon’s got a real good solid family, and for him to think of this and to coordinate this is simply amazing,” Zak said.

Williams said Brandon did a “great job” raising money to ensure the schools received an AED. She said students were enthusiastic about the fundraiser and it became a competition to see which student received the most bracelets.

“For a seventh-grader to be able to pull this off is terrific,” Williams said. “You don’t see that often in a seventh-grader. I am very proud of him.”

If anyone wants to purchase a bracelet, they can email the DiCicco’s at sadicicco@aol.com.

*Republished via RSS from The New Haven Register