Craig Cunningham All Heart

$29,295 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 254 people in 9 months
The Craig Cunningham All Heart Foundation was established by my brother Craig Cunningham and renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Zain Khalpey with the goal of preventing sudden cardiac arrests.

The root cause of death by sudden cardiac arrest often remains undetermined. It occurs often enough in athletes compared to the typical population that the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health funded a study on the incidence and cause of sudden cardiac death among all National Collegiate Athletic Association from 2003 to 2013. Despite the fact that this was a thorough and comprehensive study, there is still much to be learned on this subject.

One of the goals of the Craig Cunningham All Heart Foundation is to develop a system of precision medical screening to identify people at risk of sudden cardiac arrest so that preventive measures can be implemented.

Craig is one such athlete that experienced a sudden cardiac arrest which has left a significant permanent impact on his way of life. He was a professional hockey player, drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 4th round (97th overall) in the 2010 NHL entry draft. He had played 63 NHL games over the course of five seasons. Craig was the captain of his AHL team, the Tucson Roadrunners, and was constantly straddling the line between the NHL and AHL. His sudden cardiac arrest occurred twelve games into his sixth pro season where he collapsed during the national anthem.  

A team of firefighters from the Tucson Pipe and Drum Band, as well as the Roadrunners’ trainer managed to keep Craig alive as they circulated blood through his body for almost 90 minutes by doing chest compressions. A team of Doctors managed to get him hooked up to a machine that could circulate his blood and exchange oxygen externally. This was done using a pump and a set of tubes that had to be installed during an extremely tense bout of surgery with zero margin for error.

Craig managed to pull through with his life. Unfortunately, he suffered a complication that has forced him to change the way he lives his life forever. The pump used to circulate blood through his body and keep him alive was fed from the main artery that supplies blood to his left leg. The tissue in his leg was starved for oxygen and nutrients for too long and did not recover. His left leg had to be amputated below the knee on Christmas Eve of 2016.

Craig has since recovered and taken some very brave bounds forward with adapting to his new situation. He has developed a very strong connection with the Dr. Zain Khalpey – who saved his life (and almost his leg). Together, they have established the All Heart Foundation with the goal of decreasing the number of people affected by sudden cardiac arrest.

On my end, I struggled for a long time to come up with a way that I could contribute to this foundation. I wanted to come up with something that would even begin to do justice to the amount of respect that I have for the way my brother has embraced this challenge, as well as the passion that Dr. Khalpey brings to his career, and the sacrifices that he makes to save lives and drive the entire field of cardiothoracic health forward for the benefit of mankind as a whole.

I will be completing a crowdfunded road bike ride from my home in the West Kootenays of British Columbia – where Craig, my younger brother Mitchel, and I grew up – to Tucson Arizona. Craig is currently living in Tucson and working as a scout for the Arizona Coyotes organization.

The ride totals 2650 KM. My goal is to ride 200 KM per day and complete the trip in 14 days, however I am leaving a buffer of a couple days in the event that I need to take some recovery days. I have no prior long distance cycling experience. I have not ridden a bike consistently since 2011.

The trip is booked to begin on August 3rd. All said and done this will have given me about six months of training since I decided to do this. I will be posting regular updates of my story on social media. I hope that people enjoy following this story, and I am very grateful for any donations that people make. My goal is to raise $50,000 for the All Heart Foundation.
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$29,295 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 254 people in 9 months
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