NEWS- Going for Gold's: Club opens fully equipped

The new Gold's Gym, which opened on March 28 in the space next to K-Mart, is more than twice the size of the former club in Seminole Square and has 100 pieces of shining cardio equipment, extensive free weights, a sauna, and three group exercise rooms. But to Susan DeJarnette, the most important piece of equipment in the club is one she hopes Gold's members will never have to use: an Automated External Defibrillator.

On January 22, DeJarnette and her husband, Henry, were exercising at the Gold's Gym in Culpeper. Although she had asked the club to purchase a defibrillator, she says she'd been repeatedly rebuffed. She finally purchased one for herself for $950. Unfortunately, the day Henry went into cardiac arrest while on a treadmill, her defibrillator was in the car, and it took her several minutes to retrieve it to administer shocks to her husband. He died that day.

In the Hook's February 2 cover story, "Heartbreak: Could a simple device have saved a life?" Gold's consultant Eddie Dail said the club had always planned to purchase a defibrillator in time for the new facility's opening.

That's just what has happened, says Gold's general manager Deana St. John, displaying the Philips Heartstart defibrillator that recently arrived at the Charlottesville and Culpeper clubs. Twenty-five of the 40 Gold's staff members received training on the device on March 24, and St. John says they're ready to deal with any health problems that might occur.

According to information from the American Heart Association, heart attack victims have a survival rate of as high as 90 percent– but only if they receive defibrillation within one minute of the attack. After that, survival rates drop dramatically.

DeJarnette says she's relieved that Gold's has purchased the potentially life-saving equipment, but it's too late for her family.

"I'm sad that Henry had to die for them to do it," says DeJarnette. "I'm glad they bought one, but it's tempered with, 'Why did something like this have to happen for them to buy one?"

The new Gold's gym opened March 28 next to K-Mart.