UPDATE: Mom uses AED to save life after WSAZ Investigation

Published: Sep. 19, 2018 at 5:59 PM EDT
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UPDATE 10/12/18 @ 6:22 p.m.

A mother is credited with helping to save a man's life after using the very piece of equipment she's been campaigning for in Lawrence County, Ohio.

Charli Hatfield Stevens started raising money last month for Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) for youth leagues after a WSAZ investigation exposed sudden cardiac arrests in young athletes.

Stevens believes she was at the right place at the right time Thursday evening. She pulled up to the Ironton Youth Soccer Field for her son's game and found a man having a suspected heart attack.

"He was exercising and just went down," Stevens said.

She ran next door to grab an AED, the very piece of live-saving equipment she has been raising money for in the county.

When we first met Stevens in September, she hoped to never have to use the machine but thought it was necessary to have it on hand.

"It was teamwork and we were all there at that point for a specific reason, and I think it was to save his life, so hopefully that's what we did," Stevens said.

She says the man is still in the ICU but has been stabilized.

"It's still just surreal that it happened, scariest moment of my life," Stevens said. "I've never seen anything like that and to be a part of it ... I wasn't scared in the moment, just kind of reacting to the situation but I'm still just so worried about him. I just hope that he's going to be OK."

Stevens has been raising money on Facebook for youth leagues in the county. She already has 15 AEDs and has more on the way, nearly covering every team.

Now the Ironton Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 532 is taking to Facebook to credit Stevens for her work to save lives.

"I just believe I was supposed to do this for a reason, and I guess this was the reason the incident that happened last (Thursday) night," Stevens said.

ORIGINAL STORY 9/19/18 @ 6:33 p.m.

In August, WSAZ brought you an investigation about safety on the ball field, which exposed the lack in laws requiring life saving Automatic External Defibrillators for sports teams in Ohio and West Virginia. To read more on that report click

A day after seeing our report, Charli Stevens went to her 6-year-old son's soccer practice looking for their machine.

"I asked around if there was an AED machine anywhere and come to find out, there wasn't one in the town for any recreation league," said Stevens.

So she took it upon herself to do some research and get a campaign going to raise money to buy some. Stevens said Kristy Ray's work after her 8-year-old son, Caleb, died while playing soccer in Lincoln County was an inspiration for her. Ray has spent the months after her son's death raising money for AEDs too, even starting the Live Like Caleb Foundation.

"What she's doing is amazing," said Stevens. "It's heartbreaking the situation that lead up to her doing such wonderful things, but it really needs to happen everywhere, and it's inspiring to everybody."

In just a few weeks, Stevens' campaign, has raised thousands of dollars. With the help of a grant from the CPR Institute of Indiana, she's been able to buy nine AEDs and grow from an Ironton project, to include leagues all over Lawrence County.

"When I heard about Caleb, and him being eight and my son being six, I just thought it could happen to anybody at any age," said Stevens. "I hope that we don't ever have to use any of these machines, but just in case, we'll have them on hand."

Stevens says after getting the machines distributed, she plans to focus more on the laws, or lack thereof.

"I believe every state needs to have a law that these needs to be at all practices and games for rec league sports."

To learn more about Charli's campaign, click

For information on the Live Like Caleb Foundation, click