NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

February 22, 2013

Straight from the heart

Merrimac trainer honors late brother through CPR education

Growing up as one of 12 children in Saugus, Beth Fahey formed tight bonds and close friendships with her many siblings.

That connection and love that they share continues to impact Fahey today as the Merrimac resident strives to honor the memory and legacy of her older brother, Jack Fahey of Saugus, who died suddenly two years ago at age 57.

“He was a really great guy,” Fahey said yesterday. “He had the Andy of Mayberry hometown garage where everyone went.” Retired police officers and firefighters would often stop in to visit and catch up on news.

Those buddies, retired firefighters, found Jack unresponsive one Friday morning. He had suffered a heart attack. His loved ones, including his wife, four kids and four grandchildren, never had the chance to say goodbye.

“That’s the tragedy of heart disease,” Fahey said. “A heart attack won’t discriminate, and it’s not on your appointment calendar.”

Jack was a smoker, Fahey said, and had experienced some discomfort in his chest a few months prior to his heart attack, but doctors had checked and cleared him. Other than that, there were no symptoms or warning signs.

“You just don’t know,” she added.

While attempts at CPR were futile in her brother’s case, many times, the action can make a life-saving difference.

That fact prompted Fahey, the owner of BrickHouse Fitness, to offer adult and infant CPR and AED training classes at her facility in Merrimac Square. The first class is set for Feb. 28, in honor of February’s significance as national Heart Health Month.

Talking with the members of her gym, Fahey said she was shocked to realize the majority of her clients were not CPR or AED certified, or had let their certification lapse. By learning the important skills to assess an emergency, as well as how to perform CPR or use a portable AED machine, people will be ready if the situation arises.

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