GRAND RAPIDS — Over the past month, a West Michigan man has raised more than $5,000 to place AEDs in every Gazelle Sports location.

Ted Kushion is motivated by a story of his own. On Labor Day 2019, he suffered a cardiac arrest while at home with his family.

"I have no memory of it," Kushion said. "My wife had to do CPR for about 15 minutes and EMS arrived and they continued, but it wasn't until they had an AED hooked up that, after three tries, they were able to get a heartbeat."

Ted Kushion of Grand Rapids poses for a photo wearing a shirt that reads: "For the love of the run." Kushion sold these shirts in February, ultimately raising more than $5,000 toward placing AEDs in retail stores like Gazelle Sports.
An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a portable device capable of administering electric shocks to achieve a regular heart rhythm.

"It ended up saving my life," Kushion said.

But when he started back at work as a sales representative for Mizuno — a company that supplies sporting equipment to businesses like Gazelle Sports — Kushion lacked motivation.

"I was struggling," he said. "And then I decided I was going to start raising money for these running stores. I wanted to provide AEDs for stores where people meet up outside and run, so they're prepared in case something happens."

Kushion began his fundraiser in 2020, but was interrupted by the pandemic.

"We were able to get a couple AEDs into stores," he said. "But I have a really long history with Gazelle, having worked for them for 13 years, and they really wanted to get this going."

Gazelle donated 80 shirts to the cause, and Kushion began selling them around Valentine's Day, with the goal of purchasing five AEDs and placing them in each Gazelle Sports location — including one in downtown Holland.

The shirts featured a heart logo and the phrase, "For the love of the run." In the first three hours of the fundraiser, they were gone.

"We were blown away by the support," Kushion said. "That was enough for two AEDs. A couple of days later, we had enough money for four of them, and we ended up raising enough for the fifth and beyond."

The team is still working to figure out where to allocate the additional funds. In total, the fundraiser brought in more than $5,000.

"We're so happy about that," Kushion said. "We're still working with buyers to determine where we'll purchase the AEDs from, but the sense of urgency won't hit for another month or so, since people aren't really meeting up to run yet."

Although he's met his first milestone, Kushion is far from done with his fundraising efforts.

"My goal this year is to put 10 AEDs into our running community," he said. "And now, we're halfway there."

— Contact reporter Cassandra Lybrink at Follow her on Instagram @BizHolland.

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