CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, April 11, 2024 — In 2023, the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives, launched its Nation of Lifesavers campaign. The initiative set the ambitious goal to double the number of people willing and able to perform Hands-Only CPR in an emergency by 2030. To further this effort, the Association announced a new Nation of Lifesavers experience in Champaign, Illinois to train residents in lifesaving CPR and AED use and celebrate the American Heart Association’s work to give people the agency to save lives.

The event’s theme is “Building a Nation of Lifesavers” and will feature a VIP Nation of Lifesavers luncheon and community CPR training. Local CPR hero Shannon Walter will be the featured speaker at the luncheon. In December 2023, Walter put her CPR knowledge to use when she saved a local waiter during a cardiac arrest. An app on Walter’s phone notified her that someone was experiencing a cardiac emergency. 

“Knowing how to perform Hands-Only CPR can triple the chances of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” said Allison Marlow, development director of the American Heart Association, Central Illinois. “We’re celebrating the strides we’ve made to empower people across Illinois, as we also give people the tools to save more lives in the years to come.”

The Champaign-Urbana “Building a Nation of Lifesavers” experience has been graciously supported by long-time sponsors Carle Health and OSF HealthCare. Both sponsors have been integral to the American Heart Association’s local outreach in the Champaign-Urbana area. Carle Health held its inaugural Field Day last September and OSF HealthCare sponsored CPR kits that will be placed in community schools this coming fall.

“The American Heart Association would not be celebrating 100 years of longer, healthier lives if it weren’t for the tireless, unending generosity of our sponsors,” said Marlow. “As we build a Nation of Lifesavers and forge ahead into our second century, our generous supporters matter now more than ever. Carle Health and OSF HealthCare have already shown their commitment to our mission by bringing wellness to the workplace, through programs like Field Day, and by investing in the health and safety of the next generation by making CPR education accessible in schools. We are proud to have them as part of this event alongside our community members and survivors.”

The Heart of Champaign-Urbana “Building a Nation of Lifesavers” event will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at the I-Hotel Conference Center in Champaign from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year’s event chair is DeShawn Williams, chief deputy treasurer for Champaign County. To learn more or get involved, contact Allison Marlow at

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

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