BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bills and the American Heart Association are teaming up to help train thousands of Western New York households in CPR, as well as push forward a number of other initiatives.

Additionally, the Bills have committed $1 million over the next five years to the AHA.

“We are very excited and proud to announce our partnership with the American Heart Association, with the goal of working together to help increase the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. Over the last year, we learned first-hand the impact of a cardiac arrest incident with Kim Pegula, Damar Hamlin and too many others in our community,” said Bills EVP/COO Ron Raccuia. “Alongside the American Heart Association, we hope to educate and empower the WNY region to learn lifesaving skills including hands-only CPR, the role of AEDs and the importance of receiving timely medical attention. Our hope is to provide everyone in Buffalo, including those in underresourced areas who would not normally have access to similar education and training, the ability to save a life if that time ever presents itself.”

Through community empowerment events, both organizations will take part in training people in CPR. Notably, there will be two large-scale CPR training events later this year, with one taking part at Highmark Stadium on June 3 and another on June 10 at Johnnie B Wiley Pavilion. Both will be free to attend but will require a ticket. You can find out more information here.

Other initiatives that will be pushed in the coming months and years include the distribution of 200 CPR and First Aid in Youth Sports Training Kits, which will help train youth coaches and those in their community in CPR and how to used AEDs. Bills staff will also be trained in these life-saving measures annually, and PSAs as well as other awareness efforts will be pushed and shown off at Bills home games throughout the year.

This partnership comes in the wake of Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest during a January game against the Cincinnati Bengals and Bills CEO and President Kim Pegula’s cardiac arrest, which took place in June 2022.

“From seeing Damar Hamlin collapse, to reading about Kim Pegula being saved by a loved one, the importance of CPR has been in the forefront of the Buffalo community,” says Jason Stulb, executive director of the American Heart Association, Buffalo/Niagara. “Unfortunately, too many sudden cardiac arrest victims don’t get the help those two did. Knowing how to respond in a cardiac emergency when seconds matter is literally the difference between life and death. Thanks to support from the Buffalo Bills, we will be able to improve the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest in our community. More people will be ready to respond in those crucial first moments after cardiac arrest.”

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.