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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation Receives $2K Donation from HCA Florida Brandon Hospital

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Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation Receives $2K Donation from HCA Florida Brandon Hospital

by James Coulter

Since its inception nearly three years ago, Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation has donated and installed more than 30 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across Polk County.

Making such generous donations requires plenty of funding. Thankfully, this local organization recently received additional funding through a generous donation of its own from the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) Florida Brandon Hospital.

Melanie Brown Culpepper attended a special presentation at HCA Florida Brandon Hospital on Tuesday, where she was presented a check for $2,000 for Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation.

Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation Receives $2K Donation from HCA Florida Brandon Hospital

Melanie was invited to the hospital to attend a presentation for Heart Awareness Month. She had been invited by Laura Stauter, Director of Communications and Community Engagement. According to Melanie’s post on Facebook, Stauter had been informed about Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation by Crystal Rodriguez, someone Melanie had known since childhood.

“She happened to be here in Eagle Lake eating at Blackburn’s BBQ where she saw an AED that we had placed there,” Melanie wrote. “She went back to her work at Brandon Hospital and told the story to Laura, where Laura then had Spectrum Bay News 9 come out to do my story.”

Melanie started her organization nearly three years ago following the untimely death of her late fiancée Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Not wanting anyone else to suffer a similar fate, she started her organization to donate and install AEDs across Polk County.

Since its inception, Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation has installed more than 30 AEDs in businesses and establishments across the county including Tanner’s Lakeside, Caribbean Bay, and Old Man Franks. Their most recent AED donation was to the Lake Wales VFW last week.

“This was all such a blessing,” she said. “I’m proud to know that my story and [organization] is now getting out there to other communities in hope to save lives [by] placing AEDs throughout, not just in my own community, but to other communities as Saving Lives.”

Interestingly enough, Michael Culpepper’s sister, Rebecca Culpepper Gustafson, had worked at HCA Florida Brandon Hospital on the Heart floor, and she graciously attended Melanie’s presentation, Melanie wrote.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Melanie thanked her current fiancée, Brian Beilke, for participating with her organization and assisting her with AED donations and installations.

“Thank you, Brian Beilke, for being here today by my side and through it all,” she said. “Also a huge thank you to Laura from HCA and Courtney & Brittany from American Heart Association for this donation to Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation. It means so much to me in hope to save others as Saving Lives Matters.”

To learn more about Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/honoringculpepper

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