“We call them ‘miracles in a box’ because they are just that…. They are the difference between life and death in a sudden cardiac situation.” – Kristin Wagmeister, HeartSaver Committee Member


On February 8th, we stepped into the world of Wonka as we attended the Deaconess HeartSaver’s 10th Anniversary Wonka Golden Ticket Luncheon at Bally’s Riverfront Event Center. In an afternoon full of whimsical characters, delicious sweets, and great company, we were happy to sponsor and support this local organization and its honorable mission.


The Deaconess Heart Hospital and Deaconess Foundation’s HeartSaver strive to increase the number of on-hand AEDs in the Tri-State area – Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Southwestern Indiana – to help save lives and reduce the number of sudden cardiac deaths.


“Every story should have a happy ending, and in the case of a sudden cardiac event, we want there to be survivors who will recover to share their stories.” – Kristin Wagmeister, HeartSaver Committee Member


To date, 15 documented saves have taken places because of these lifesaving devices. Our President and CEO, Don Neel, is one of those survivors. He had the opportunity to share his personal experience with HeartSavers as the keynote speaker at the Wonka Golden Ticket Luncheon.


“With absolutely no prior warning, I started seeing stars and vividly remember the sensation of getting ready to lose consciousness…. A few minutes later the paramedics had told me that my heart had stopped beating,” he said. “Rick and Tom immediately got to work on CPR after I collapsed, and Deputy Fine came in with the AED…. After one shock, my heartbeat was restored.”




Because of the financial support of individuals and businesses in our community, more than 750 AEDs have already been placed in the Tri-State area. An additional 35 devices will be available in the next few weeks.


One of the largest benefits of having readily available AEDs is there is no formal training needed in order to use one. The devices give step by step instructions and do not proceed until each step is followed. Therefore, anyone can become a HeartSaver… and a life saver.  (To watch a video demonstration of how easy an AED is to use visit deaconess.com/HeartSaver.)


“Seconds matter in a sudden cardiac emergency, so we will keep going as long as there is a need for more of these devices.” – Kristin Wagmeister, HeartSaver Committee Member


Thank you to all who support HeartSaver and make it possible for more AEDs to be placed in our community. There is still a substantial need for more of these lifesaving devices to be placed in our community. Currently, HeartSavers has a waiting list with more than 115 AEDs needed.


If you would like to learn more about the current wait list, visit the HeartSaver website or call Penny Goshert at 812.842.3472 or Kirsten Wagmeister at 812.431.1377. 


HeartSaver’s currently serves the following counties in Indiana: Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick. They also serve Henderson, Union, and Webster counties in Kentucky. If you would like to learn more about the HeartSaver AED and how they impact our community, or you would like to become a HeartSaver, click here.