The Netherlands should count two hundred voluntary neighborly assistants in 2018. That is the strategic objective of the Dutch Heart Foundation, in which HeartsafeLiving also makes an important contribution. To achieve this goal, the Heart Foundation has cooperated with Feyenoord and Opel in the national campaign Hand in Hand for Life.
“Together we are going to tackle a big problem. This is the start of a beautiful collaboration,” said David Verschoor, Director of Fundraising Development of the Dutch Heart Foundation at the official launch of Hand in Hand for Life. “We are therefore very pleased with the commitment of Feyenoord and Opel to achieve this goal together.”
Every week, about 300 Dutch get a cardiac arrest out of the hospital. Resuscitation within six minutes can double the chance of survival. To provide resuscitation within six minutes – before professionals arrive – throughout the Netherlands, a total of two hundred thousand volunteers is required. The aim of the Dutch Heart Foundation is to have this number of neighborly assistants within three years. Currently there are over 75 thousand neighborly assistants registered in the Netherlands. They can resuscitate and are immediately available in case someone in the area gets a cardiac arrest.
More than five million Dutch people already attended a resuscitation training. Of these, only 75 thousand signed up as a neighborly assistant to be alerted for resuscitation. Opel and Feyenoord help the Dutch Heart Foundation by evoking people who can resuscitate to sign up as a neighborly assistant. At the stadium Feyenoord requests the fans who already can resuscitate to sign up as a neighborly assistant.
In the Netherlands there are about three million Feyenoord soccer fans. And there are eight hundred thousand Opel drivers in the Netherlands. “We can use the catalytic effect of both organizations excellent,” says Floris Italianer, director of the Dutch Heart Foundation. “Thanks to the tremendous supporters and the communication power of both Feyenoord as Opel, we think it is feasible to register the 200,000 volunteers in the foreseeable future. If we achieve that, we win so much. To indicate the importance: then we are able to save hundreds of lives each year. Feyenoord supporters, Opel drivers, neighbors, fellow villagers and residents. That aims the collaboration. Hence it is: ‘Hand in hand, for life’.”
At the start of the main sponsorship of Feyenoord in 2013, Opel made clear that it wanted to be more than just the name on the shirt. With Hand in Hand for Life the sponsor suits the action to the word now. “We want to give our sponsorship depth,” said Johan Claassen, general manager of Opel Netherlands during the presentation. “Feyenoord is in the heart of the Legion, Opel in the heart of the Opel driver. We searched for a shared mission and we found it in the Dutch Heart Foundation.”
Feyenoord also enables this collaboration with the Dutch Heart Foundation in the heart of its CSR policy. “The passion at the Feyenoord Legion, the experience with which our sponsor develops cars: it is about passion, it makes your heart beat faster. But what if your heart suddenly stops? Then it is important that you are helped quickly. That is what Opel and Feyenoord will achieve together, for and with the Heart Foundation,” says Eric Gudde, CEO of Feyenoord. “This goes far beyond club love, it is a matter that concerns us all. That makes this agreement unique, for the parties involved and for the Netherlands.”
“Feyenoord is in your heart for life. Therefore we say resounding ‘yes’ to the Dutch Heart Foundation,” explained Mark Koevermans, former professional tennis player and now commercial director to Feyenoord during the presentation. “Life is much more than a football game. Therefore Feyenoord is socially active with several projects, both in Rotterdam and nationwide. Together with Ajax we are the only club with fans in each zip code area in the Netherlands. That is a powerful tool that we like to use to communicate the message of Hand in Hand for Life nationwide.” This is done by the use of a recognizable logo with two hands in a heart on the sleeve of the jersey of Feyenoord this season.
To underline the importance of knowledge of CPR, the Feyenoord selection followed a resuscitation training at the day of the announcement at De Kuip Stadium. Also about two hundred employees of Feyenoord and De Kuip Stadium were offered a resuscitation training. Nobody is obliged subsequently to sign up as a neighborly assistant, but the club promotes this wholeheartedly though. Mark Koevermans sets a good example herein: “I’m going to follow the CPR course and if I succeed, I sign up as a volunteer.” Also Feyenoord mobilizes its three hundred partner associations and Opel does the same with its dealers. The resuscitation training at these parties are provided in cooperation with the Rotterdam Erasmus MC.
For more information and registration for the nationwide alert system, you can visit http://www.opel.nl/feyenoord/voorhetleven/. New applicants receive a unique wristband imprinted with “For Life”.