Personal trainer Bob Harper is best known for his trainer role on “The Biggest Loser,” during which he helped participants achieve health and fitness goals. Less well known is the role he plays as the voice of Survivors Have Heart.
Harper teamed with AstraZeneca to launch the program after he suffered a heart attack in February 2017. Two years later, he worked alongside the company to bring five heart-attack survivors to New York City with him for an event.
It represented the beginning of a fruitful partnership. Last year, AstraZeneca’s “Second Chance Portraits” program tapped Harper’s interest in photography to bring the stories of heart-attack survivors to life.
AstraZeneca executive director, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism Alex Dyer pointed to that initiative as an example of why — and how — the company’s collaboration with Harper works.
“I’d characterize the working relationship with Bob as, ‘He’s got ideas, we’ve got ideas and we come together on them,’” Dyer quipped.
Now Harper and AstraZeneca are concentrating their efforts on CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) training. AstraZeneca is launching that effort close to home, courtesy of a Red Cross CPR certification class offered at company HQ in Wilmington, Delaware.
“We heard about the importance of CPR and AEDs from our survivors, but it was a core part of Bob’s story,” Dyer explained. “He’ll tell you that he probably wouldn’t be here today if, when he had his heart attack in the gym, someone wasn’t there to give him CPR… He would always say, ‘When I walk into a room, I look around to find where the AED is and I look around for who would be the person who maybe would save me if I had an event.’”
Through the new program, AstraZeneca hopes to encourage other companies to follow suit.
“We’ve got a couple hundred sales reps and they’re all over the country. Imagine the power, if they had this training and this knowledge, to potentially save a person’s life — and with that many people, maybe even multiple lives,” Dyer added.
In addition to the CPR and AED initiative, AstraZeneca and Survivors Have Heart have partnered on the “Survive Today” PSA. The spot affirms a pandemic reality: That many people experiencing heart attacks are hesitating to go to emergency rooms out of fear of COVID exposure.
“With heart attacks, the problem is that the more you delay treatment, the more likely you are to have a poor outcome, in terms of death or serious complications,” Dyer said.
Dyer expects the Survivors Have Heart/AstraZeneca to continue to evolve over time.
“We’ve done live events. We’ve created online communities. We’ve trained survivors so that they can go tell their stories,” he added. “This year we’re focusing on CPR and AED and energizing our own team around it. Frankly, I think it’s something that companies — and not just in pharma — need to be doing more.”
MM+M has updated this story to more accurately characterize the relationship between Bob Harper, AstraZeneca and Survivors Have Heart.