Family saving lives after losing daughter to cardiac arrest

Local family saving lives after losing daughter to cardiac arrest

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Kimberly Gillary Kimberly Gillary
(WJBK) -

Kimberly Gillary was a beautiful, talented 15-year-old athlete at Troy Athens High School. She played golf, tennis and basketball and started swimming at age four.

In April of 2000 she was playing water polo during a game at Groves High School when the unthinkable happened - she went into sudden cardiac arrest and died.

"She was outwardly in excellent physical condition and we had no idea that there was any problem," says Randy Gillary, Kimberly's father.

The day after her death, her family established a foundation in her name to raise awareness about undetected heart problems in teens.

The foundation has been working to get an Automated External Defibrillator or AED to every high school in Michigan.

"Since we've started the foundation we've raised over a million dollars and have donated more than 650 Automated External Defibrillators to high schools throughout the state of Michigan," says Randy.

The latest school to receive AED is Lubavitch Yeshiva International School for Chabad Leadership in Oak Park.

The school is grateful to the Gillary family, for being inspired by their own tragedy to save the lives of others.

"What we have seen is how they transformed that tragedy into something positive, and not just something positive for their self, but something positive for the community around them," says Rabbi Mendel Stein.

Since the foundation began, at least three people's lives have been saved all because the school had an AED.

"If we could save one life it would all be worth it, and that's what we said when we started. If we could just save someone else's Kimberly, this would all be worth it,"

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