CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) will host a press conference to announce Strive to Revive, an initiative that is making available 20 Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to Charlotte area places of worship.  The program is designed to specifically impact houses of worship that serve populations largely at risk of health disparity or poor health outcomes.

The event will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 1 at the Carole Hoefener Center in Charlotte.

Strive to Revive is a BCBSNC led collaboration of several organizations that are partnering to support the initiative, including Bank of America, Carolinas HealthCare System, Duke Energy Carolinas, Mecklenburg County Farm Bureau, Mecklenburg EMS Agency (Medic), Mecklenburg Medical Alliance and Endowment (MMAE), NC Association of Electric Cooperatives, Piedmont Natural Gas, Progress Energy, Reynolds American and UNC Charlotte University Relations and Community Affairs.

This initiative will support The Lucky Hearts Campaign—a public education collaborative of Medic and MMAE. Lucky Hearts is leading the application process, the AED distribution and providing essential training as part of their overall AED awareness program that has been increasing access to the machines in Mecklenburg County since 2008.

Strive to Revive seeks to increase the chance of survival of sudden cardiac arrest patients through training and bystander intervention. The program focuses on places of worship, as consistently large gathering places, and is designed to impact populations which may disproportionately be impacted by heart disease, cardiac arrest and other health risk factors or disparities.   

The program was adopted after Mark Fleming, director of Government Affairs at BCBSNC, was one of the first responders to Representative Becky Carney in April 2009, when she collapsed in her legislative office and went into cardiac arrest.  Her life was saved because a portable defibrillator was available at the time of the incident.  

Representative Carney’s experience raised awareness of the importance of AED’s and has led to this convening of organizations committed to ensuring that more people in Charlotte have access to these life-saving devices.  The one-year anniversary of Carney’s incident is Friday, April 2.

“I am pleased a new program will save lives by increasing the number of portable defibrillators in Charlotte.  I know how important it is to have these devices in public places.  I am living proof that a defibrillator will increase the chance of survival to anyone that may experience cardiac arrest in a public setting,” said Rep. Carney.

Organizations interested in applying to receive an AED via this initiative can simply visit the Lucky Hearts website at for more information.   
Criteria for eligibility include:
  • Mecklenburg County-based house of worship
  • Serve a population largely at risk of health disparity or poor health outcomes 
  • Demonstrated need (large congregation, limited financial resources, etc)
An AED is a computerized medical device that is used to check a person's heart rhythm. It tells the rescuer when a shock is needed by using voice prompts, lights and text messages. AED's are very accurate and easy to use. When they are used correctly, these machines can increase survival rates of heart attack victims by nearly 50 percent. 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 76 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at