Mothers unite to protect community children

Provided Heidi Gilbert, RN, and JoAnn Seamans bound by the loss of their sons, joined together to bring life-saving backpacks to every classroom in the area. The packs contain tourniquets, gauze, and other materials to help stop the loss of blood due to traumatic injury. As part of #GivingTuesday, you can sponsor a classroom backpack with a donation of $75 at www.smc-foundation.org/backpack

In 2018, Heidi Gilbert, RN, approached the Stillwater Medical Foundation for funds to bring the Department of Defense’s “Stop the Bleed” program to Stillwater. The basis of the program is an hour-long class to learn how to control bleeding, saving lives during a traumatic event. The Foundation funded the purchase of two training kits. Once they arrived, Heidi started getting nurses and doctors through the training.

“Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, and law enforcement officers can all become instructors. For every new instructor, more people learn how to save lives. This program has grown by leaps and bounds since it started,” Ms. Gilbert stated.

One year after starting this life-saving education, Heidi suffered every mother’s worst nightmare, when her teenage son, Jake McClain, was shot and killed. Even in the midst of grief, Heidi continued on with her work to expand bleeding control education throughout the community and surrounding area.

“Anyone who has worked with Heidi knows how passionate she is about medical education and helping others,” D. Scott Petty, Executive Director of the Stillwater Medical Foundation shared. “Endeavors like this are why Heidi was named as Stillwater Medical Foundation’s Nurse of the Year for 2019. She has worked tirelessly to enhance staff training, making Stillwater Medical better for every patient.”

Recently, Heidi came to the Foundation with another request for funds. In addition to teaching the community to control bleeding, she wants to equip every school in the Stillwater Medical service area with bleeding control kits. The Foundation decided to introduce her to JoAnn Seamans, a retired hospital volunteer and donor.

The two women first met because they had a shared love for Stillwater. They soon found they shared another bond, the heartbreaking loss of a child. In 1977, Kyle Seamans was killed in a rock-climbing accident in the Arbuckle Mountains. He was a high school senior. JoAnn lost her other son, Kevin, in 2007, to an unexpected seizure.

Heidi explained the Stop the Bleed program to JoAnn, and JoAnn agreed to provide the funds for 24 backpacks to be distributed to the schools.

“Knowing that children are safer because they have these life-saving supplies close at hand really warms my heart,” JoAnn stated. “Of course, I hope they are never needed, but we all know it’s better to be prepared. Life can change in an instant.”

December 2nd is Giving Tuesday. It was started in 2012 with a simple idea: encourage people to do good. Over the years it has grown into a world-wide movement that inspires millions to give and celebrate generosity.

As a way to bring #GivingTuesday to Stillwater, Heidi and JoAnn are asking for you to join in their work to put these life-saving kits in schools across Stillwater Medical’s service area.

Your donation of $75 will provide a backpack and supplies for one classroom. You can make your gift online at www.smc-foundation.org/backpack , visit the Foundation’s Facebook page, or give them a call at 405-742-5387.

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