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Kevin J. Major Foundation donates AED to Amelia Park

Date: 8/15/2012

By Carley Dangona

WESTFIELD — On Aug. 11, the Kevin J. Major Foundation donated an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) to the Amelia Park Ice Arena, in honor of the Foundation's namesake to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Major's family presented the AED to the park on the third day of the second annual Kevin J. Major Memorial Hockey Tournament.

"It's extremely important that we raise awareness; that we give back to the community that's been so good to our family. And, it just made sense [that] Amelia Park be the first one in the Foundation's name and in Kevin's name," Kevin's mother, Susan Canning, said.

Canning continued, "We need our kids to know that if they're on a sports field, they're in a gym, they're on a court — somebody collapses — for them it's second nature — they know what they need to do and they know the symptoms [of SCA]."

Kevin's father, Patrick Major said, "Believe it or not, we had what we thought was a heart situation in a game last night [Friday]," he said. "It ended up being an asthma situation."

Canning added, "But, it was tachycardia, which resembled [SCA]."

Patrick said, "We didn't use it [the AED], but it was there."

Major, died at 19 on July 11, 2011 in the Middle Pond of Congamond Lakes in Southwick, from SCA due to an undiagnosed condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart.

"Unfortunately, Kevin's first episode was his last," Canning said. "But, now we have an opportunity we want to increase the stories of survival. We don't want another parent, another brother to go through this."

Patrick added, "We just want the community to know what we are about, what are mission is — what we've done and what we are going to do."

The Foundation plans to donate more AEDs in the future. Proceeds from its heart screenings will provide funds to purchase AEDs; while the receipts from the monies of the sports events support the Foundation's sports scholarships.

"As Kevin would want it — we're going to continue on and make a positive presence in the community and give back," Canning said.

The Foundation will present a heart screening Sept. 8 at Major's Alma mater, St. Mary High School in Westfield.

For more information about the heart screening and the Kevin J. Major Foundation, visit For more information about the Amelia Park Ice Arena, visit