TENNESSEE — A local mom is pushing to get more automated external defibrillators in schools.
Tuesday, June 26 marks nine years since Tanner Lee Jameson collapsed at an Eagleton Middle basketball game.
His mother, Rhonda Harrill, has been fighting to make sure no other parent has to go through what she has since he died.
“He never got to drive, he never got married, I’ll never see him have kids, and it’s painful to think that little device could have saved him," she said.
Tanner was in cardiac arrest and needed an automated external defibrillator or AED. The device he needed was inaccessible, in another part of the school.
Since then, she's fought to bring AEDs into every school possible. Effective July 1, all Tennessee public high schools will be required by law to have one in or near the gym.
Sevier County Public Schools started placing the devices in its schools ten years ago.
"One hundred percent of our schools have AEDs and some buildings have more than one," said Assistant Superintendent Debra Cline. “We’ve never used an AED, but we’re ready to if it’s needed.”
Through 10 years of use, the Sevier County school district has never had to use an AED. Despite that statistic, Coordinator of School Health Don Best continues to make sure all 44 AEDs in Sevier County's schools and auxiliary buildings are in working order.
“I’ve seen in ten years, multiple incidents that are reported nationally where a child died because there was not an aed located. That in itself is enough for me," Best said.
Harrill says she's thankful for the help of Representative Bob Ramsey and AMR's support in helping pass the legislation. Senate Bill 410 helps pay for the high schools that cannot afford the required AEDs. However, she hopes one day all schools in the state from elementary to high school, public to private, will have AEDs on-hand.
Anyone who wishes to help Harrill in her fight for AEDs can contact her at Rhondaharrill20@icloud.com.