AHA NYC brings CPR demo to NBPA event at Rucker Park

By Ella Beames, NYC Intern of Impact

On Saturday, June 22, the American Heart Association (AHA) was invited to attend the “Let’s Get Ready to Rucker!” youth clinic at Holcombe Rucker Park on W 155th Street in Manhattan. The event was hosted by the National Basketball Players Association in partnership with NYC Parks and was highlighted by an appearance from Brooklyn Nets player, Keita Bates-Diop, and a donation of an AED (automated external defibrillator) on behalf of his foundation. 

Melinda Murray-Nyack, a long-time volunteer for the AHA and founder of the Dominic A. Murray 21 Memorial Foundation, led a CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and AED demonstration for the clinic’s participants. Murray-Nyack lost her 17-year-old son, Dominic, to sudden cardiac arrest in 2009. Since then, she has been an ambitious advocate, raising awareness about cardiac emergency preparedness and has trained almost 30,000 people to save lives. 

This cause is near and dear to Bates-Diop’s heart, as well. His younger brother, Kai, suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of his high school basketball practice in 2017 and was luckily saved with CPR. Since then, Bates-Diop has led several efforts during his NBA career to engage with communities, with a focus on raising CPR awareness, AED education and donation, and raising funds to benefit the American Heart Association and other heart-related causes. 

Bates-Diop spoke on the importance of knowing CPR and how to use an AED, saying, “It’s better to have those skills and not need them, than to need them and not have them.” 

Cardiovascular disease does not discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion. An estimated 23,000 children under the age of 18 experience sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital each year. 

The clinic’s participants, whose ages ranged from 11 to 17, did not just leave the clinic with honed basketball skills, but they left with the ability to save a peer’s life. 

Thank you to the National Basketball Players Association for inviting us to expand our Nation of Lifesavers, to Keita Bates-Diop for using his platform to elevate this mission, and to Melinda Murray-Nyack for always being relentless advocate for CPR and AED awareness. 

To learn more about joining a Nation of Lifesavers, visit heart.org/nation-of-lifesavers.