WARREN, NJ - The Janet Fund, started by the Zilinski family of Warren in memory of their daughter Janet, will be donating 20 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to New Jersey schools. 

After their daughter Janet died at 11 years of age from sudden cardiac arrest when jogging during cheerleading practice, the Zilinski family started The Janet Zilinski Memorial Fund. Janet had suffered from an undetected congenital heart defect known as bilateral hypoplasia of the coronary arteries.  

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart's electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops beating. It is fatal if not treated within a few minutes.Victims of SCA often appear healthy, and the situation usually happens with little or no warning, according to information from The Janet Fund.

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If a SCA victim is defibrillated within the first minute of sudden cardiac arrest, chances of survival are close to 90 percent.  Every minute of delay in defibrillation reduces chances of survival.  

According to The Janet Fund, Sudden Cardiac Arrest  is the leading cause of death on school property.Janet’s Law  goes into effect on September 1, 2014. It was signed by Governor Christie on September 21, 2012 and requires all New Jersey public and private schools to have an AED available in an accessible, unlocked location within close proximity to the gymnasium or athletic field. It also requires five trained responders,  the establishment of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest emergency action plan and signs providing direction to the location of the AED.

In memory of Janet, the Janet Fund works to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, lobbys for legislation, and develop strategies to prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy. Part of the mission is to distribute AEDs to schools, camps and youth organizations. The Janet Fund is committed to helping schools acquire AEDs to comply with the law.

To be eligible for one of the 20 AEDs that are being donated, a school must be a public or private (not-for-profit) school that does not already have at least one AED on the school premises. To apply, go to the fund’s website to complete a grant application. All grant applications must be received by Nov. 10. 

To learn more about the Janet Fund and how to apply for an AED, visit www.thejanetfund.org. Mail grant applications to The Janet Fund, P.O. Box 150, Martinsville, NJ 08846.    

All recipients will be notified by Nov. 30. The information will also be posted on the fund’s website.