Heart health advocate Rick Worrel’s legacy continues as family pushes fundraising for CPR kiosk in Overland Park

Fundraising efforts for a CPR kiosk in Overland Park are underway. Photo courtesy of American Heart Association

Rick Worrel, an Overland Park businessman and advocate for heart health in Overland Park, had helped train thousands of people to learn how to do hands-only CPR.

Worrel died at 58 after a second episode of cardiac arrest a few weeks ago, but his family wants to continue his mission by placing a CPR kiosk in Overland Park.

Laura Lopez, executive director of the American Heart Association said the feedback from a CPR kiosk for each individual who practices with it “is really, really critical when learning CPR to make sure that people have a feel for what it would be like should they be in a circumstance where they need to perform CPR.”

“Rick was a wonderful, passionate volunteer and friend to the American Heart Association,” Lopez said. “Rick’s passion was that for anyone battling cardiac arrest, or there are other things that can happen where one may need CPR — to make sure that everybody in the community had ample opportunity to be trained. A CPR kiosk allows us to do that.”

Rick Worrel, a prominent member of the Overland Park business community, died last week.

Lopez said the advocacy of Worrel and his family has spurred the fundraising efforts to cover the installation costs.

A CPR kiosk contains a video of a CPR demonstration for individuals to watch as well as a CPR “Annie” doll for individuals to practice giving compressions. The doll then provides direct feedback to the individual learning CPR on the kiosk, providing tips on pressure and pace of the compressions.

The training provided by the CPR kiosk takes about three minutes to learn hands-only CPR.

Worrel had suffered a cardiac arrest while running a race in 2016; because of bystander CPR, he survived, Lopez said. This life-saving event was a catalyst for much of Worrel’s advocacy work up until his death a few weeks ago.

“He really became involved with the Heart Association because he was so passionate about people learning the importance of hands-only CPR and making sure that, should he or anyone else in our community experience cardiac arrest, someone around them could immediately go into action,” Lopez said. “Rick was extremely passionate about that.”

Training for hands-on CPR takes about three minutes on a CPR kiosk, according to the American Heart Association. Photo courtesy of American Heart Associatoin

A CPR kiosk costs $375,000; payment for a kiosk can be dispersed over a three-year period.

“This is an investment in people’s future and an investment in education in the community,” Lopez said. “So any gift that people are able to make, we are greatly appreciative of that, and we’ll put that towards making sure that Kansas City has a kiosk that the entire community can learn on.”

A location has not been designated, but once a spot is selected and funds are raised, the kiosk could be ready for use within 12 weeks, Lopez said.

Jim Holland, a volunteer of the American Heart Association and friend of Worrel who shared his passion for CPR training, said the CPR kiosk is “a true legacy” to Worrel.

“Even with him not being here, if we’re able to get this accomplished, it’ll be something that he would be very proud of because he knows that eventually, it’s going to touch somebody’s life,” Holland said. “Because somebody’s going to use this kiosk to learn CPR and then save somebody’s life. I think Rick would think that’s really cool.”