© 2024 WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Member-Supported Public Media from Southern Illinois University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The State Investigates the Save-A-Life Foundation


Springfield, IL – Questions linger over a now defunct organization which received millions of dollars to teach children emergency first-aid.

Supporters say it started as a worthy cause. Even Baywatch star David Hasselhoff gave his celebrity endorsement. The Save-A-Life Foundation started when the founder lost her daughter in a 1992 car accident. Carol Spizzirri claimed police officers did nothing to revive her daughter at the scene. She started the organization to teach CPR in Chicago Public Schools to prevent another such tragedy.

The group received millions of dollars in federal and state funds to teach CPR. Media reports later questioned how the group was using the money it received.

Democrat Tim Bagwell of Olney is challenging incumbent Republican John Shimkus for Illinois' 19th Congressional seat. Bagwell blames Shimkus for allowing the money to flow through and he wants Congress to investigate.

"Because I believe the public deserves to know what happened to the millions dollars that Mr. Shimkus handed over to Spizzirri's operation," says Bagwell.

The Illinois Attorney General's office confirms it is reviewing how the funds were used, as is done whenever a charitable organization disbands. A spokesman for Shimkus says any investigation should be left up to the State's Attorney or U.S. Attorney.

As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year.