Big Picture . Local Focus
Suit dropped as Save A Life changes mission
By Kimberly Pohl |Daily Herald Staff
Published: 7/15/2009 5:27 PM
Two years after filing a defamation lawsuit to repair its tarnished image, Save A Life Foundation of suburban Schiller Parkhas closed its doors for good.The high-profile nonprofit organization, which taught schoolchildren first aid techniques such as the Heimlich maneuver,ceased operations on July 1. Days later, Save A Life's attorney filed a motion to drop the suit against three men accusedof organizing a smear campaign against the foundation and harassing employees and board members, among themex-Palatine Mayor Rita Mullins.Founder Carol Spizzirri said the legal action became too costly to pursue, but declined to say exactly why she shutteredan organization she said helped more than 1 million children. The lawsuit claimed the defendants' actions caused lostbusiness opportunities and partnerships."There's certainly a connection (between the closing and the lawsuit) but I don't want to go into it," Spizzirri
"We'renot supposed to discuss the case."Named in the suit was Peter Heimlich, estranged son of maneuver namesake Dr. Henry Heimlich, who served on Save ALife's medical advisory board. A blogger and a doctor critical of the Heimlich maneuver were also defendants.Chuck Goudie, an ABC 7 reporter and Daily Herald columnist, was briefly part of the suit for a derogatory report he did onSave A Life, but the case against him was dropped in March 2008. His report questioned Spizzirri's credentials and saidthe foundation, which received millions of dollars in government money and corporate donations, was misappropriatingfunds and teaching the maneuver inappropriately - all falsehoods, according to the lawsuit.Spizzirri's new focus is fighting the type of online stalking outlined in the suit. She has a meeting scheduled later thismonth with several legislators and has been working with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office."Cyberworld is the Wild West with absolutely no governance," Spizzirri
"Anyone can say terrible things aboutpeople, put it on the Internet and nobody can do anything about it. Reputations and credibility are ruined."
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