Press Releases

Monday, October 09, 2023

Highmark BCBS and the Buffalo Bills Foundation donate 15 AEDs to community organizations

Hosts community hands-only CPR education and training, with the American Heart Association

Buffalo, N.Y. (October 9, 2023) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Buffalo Bills Foundation announced that together, they donated 15 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to community organizations. In conjunction with the donation, they also hosted a free Hands-Only CPR and AED education event at Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library for the community, with the American Heart Association.

Use of an AED is the third step in the cardiac arrest chain of survival, with the first two steps being a call to 9-1-1 and beginning CPR. Immediate CPR and AED use can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.

“Our community at large witnessed the life-saving impact of the cardiac arrest chain of survival with Damar Hamlin. The takeaways from that experience has led to better and increased trainings, as well as improved understanding of how all of us can use AEDs and CPR to help save lives,” said Michael Ball, vice president, community affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. “This is another example of how the Bills and Highmark, together with the American Heart Association, continue to collaborate to benefit our community.”

Organizations receiving an AED donation include Buffalo & Erie County Public library branches, Buffalo Peacemakers/Back-to-Basics Ministries, Resource Council of WNY, Say Yes Buffalo, Salvation Army, Northwest Buffalo Community Center, Compass House, FeedMore WNY, Care Management Coalition of WNY, Childcare Resource Network, WNYHeroes and Gerard Place.

“The Bills Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Highmark BCBS and the American Heart Association to expand on the Bills HeartBEAT initiative and offer AED grants to local organizations as well as continued Hands-Only CPR education and awareness”, said Gretchen Geitter, president, Buffalo Bills Foundation.

This latest announcement builds on the organizations’ efforts to spread awareness and expand CPR and AED availability and access across the community. It comes just months after the organizations teamed up to provide CPR training kits to all 37 Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries and hosted two mass community trainings events at Highmark Stadium and the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion.

“Seven in ten Americans say they feel powerless to act in the face of a cardiac emergency,” said Jason Stulb, executive director of the American Heart Association, Buffalo/Niagara. “We can change that. Each of us has the power in our own hands to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest. We simply need to know what to do and have the confidence to act.”

With Cardiovascular disease leading as the number one cause of death in the United States, these ongoing efforts will enhance community members’ ability to confidently and appropriately intervene if they witness a cardiac emergency, potentially saving a life.

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director John Spears added, “As we are well aware, sudden cardiac arrest can occur anywhere and at any time. Thanks to this partnership, our libraries are now better equipped to immediately help a patron in need should a cardiac incident occur.  Along with the CPR kits available for borrowing from any library - and donated by these same generous partners — the community can count on their libraries for lifesaving equipment and information about heart healthy living.”  

The Buffalo Bills, together with American Heart Association will offer FREE community training on Sunday, November 5 at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. 30-minute Hands-Only CPR Education sessions are available from 3:00pm-6:30pm. Registration is open online, and walk-ins are welcome.

About Highmark Inc.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of approximately 6.8 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit

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Amber Hartmann