Palo Alto AED Advocate Stephanie Martinson Celebrated as 2018 Woman of the Year for California’s 13th Senate District

March 17, 2018

For Immediate Release  – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill
Media Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov

Palo Alto AED Advocate Stephanie Martinson Celebrated as 2018 Woman of the Year for California’s 13th Senate District

SACRAMENTO – Palo Alto resident Stephanie Martinson was honored in the Capitol this week as the California Legislature celebrated the accomplishments and advocacy of more than 110 women from around the state in the 2018 Woman of the Year ceremonies.

State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, named Ms. Martinson the 2018 Woman of the Year for the 13th District. On Monday (March 12), accompanied by her family, she traveled to the state Capitol to join honorees from other legislative districts for ceremonies conducted in the Senate and the Assembly by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“This is just amazing and I am so grateful,” Ms. Martinson said.

A speech pathologist by training and vocation, she came to Senator Hill’s attention through her volunteer work as the founder and president of Racing Hearts, a nonprofit she started in 2012 to press for widespread installation of automated external defibrillators.

Her advocacy of AEDs grew out of a firsthand encounter with a frightening medical emergency. She was climbing Half Dome in Yosemite when she experienced an aborted sudden cardiac arrest, which led to a diagnosis at age 23 of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – and, ultimately, to her decision to help spread awareness of AEDs and the need to make the life-saving devices readily available in community spaces.

The all-volunteer nonprofit she established has collaborated with local government, schools, first responders, medical facilities and, in 2015, with Senator Hill on Senate Bill 658. Aimed at clearing barriers to deployment, the legislation updated and streamlined the state law on the safeguards and other requirements for building owners and public facilities that have AEDs installed.

 

Last November, Santa Clara County celebrated the collective efforts that have resulted in more than 660 AEDs available in 553 locations, including all the patrol vehicles of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s department and more than 90 percent of the county’s public schools. At the time, the county and Racing Hearts said AED deployment is expected to continue and that public schools are on target to reach their goal of 100 percent by the end of the 2017-2018 term.

“Stephanie Martinson has made it her mission to help save lives, and she has shown that great things can be accomplished through personal initiative, public and private partnerships, and community engagement,” said Senator Hill. “I’m proud to have named her this year’s Woman of the Year for the 13th Senate District.”

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2018 Woman of the Year group photo

Pictured from left, California Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, Senator Jerry Hill, 13th Senate District 2018 Woman of the Year Stephanie Martinson of Palo Alto, Senator Connie M. Leyva, vice chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, and Senate President pro Tempore-designee Toni Atkins.

Ms. Martinson was one of the more than 110 women who were honored in the 2018 Woman of the Year ceremonies conducted in the state Senate and Assembly in a celebration sponsored and organized by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. – March 12, 2018, State Capitol, Image by Senate Photographer Lorie Shelley.

Stephanie Martinson, 2018 Woman of the Year for the 13th Senate District and Senator Jerry Hill

State Senator Jerry Hill escorts Stephanie Martinson of Palo Alto, the 13th Senate District’s 2018 Woman of the Year, into the Senate chamber for the Woman of the Year ceremonies sponsored and organized by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. – March 12, 2018, State Capitol, Image by Senate Photographer Lorie Shelley