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Hundreds of Montreal High School Students to be Empowered to Save Lives

ACT Foundation Launches High School CPR Program in Montreal Kicks-off Fundraising Campaign for mannequins for High Schools!

MONTREAL – Wednesday, November 27, 2002, 10:00 a.m., École secondaire Sophie-Barat, 1239, boulevard Gouin est, Montréal — The ACT Foundation and community partners today launch the ACT High School CPR Program in the Commission scolaire de Montreal. This initiative will result in 1,200 students from four high schools being empowered to save lives with CPR training each year. The Foundation is providing the four schools with 100 training mannequins. The four-hour CPR course will be taught to all students in one grade level by their physical education teachers every year.

The ACT Foundation has already established the CPR program in several hundred high schools across Canada, involving over 140,000 students each year. Schools are enthusiastic. Teachers report that the program boosts self-esteem and teaches responsibility. Physical education teacher Mario Loiselle at Ecole secondaire Sophie-Barat says, “This program brings a lot to high school students. They learn to save lives and it teaches them responsibility. It has a tremendous value as a life-skill. Furthermore, this training can lead to a domino effect, as the students transmit to family members the urge to also take a CPR course.” The schools that will begin CPR training in the Commision scolaire de Montréal are: École secondaire la Dauversière, École secondaire Honoré-Mercier, École secondaire Saint-Luc, and École secondaire Sophie-Barat.

The ACT High School CPR Program teaches youth the 4 Rs of CPR: Risk, Recognize, React and Resuscitate. Students learn about: risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the importance of heart healthy living; how to recognize the early warning signs of a cardiac emergency; how to react and the importance of calling 911 early. Students also learn resuscitation or CPR, and the Heimlich Manoeuvre. They will be prepared to help a parent or grandparent should they experience a heart attack or cardiac arrest, a brother, sister or child they are babysitting should they choke, or a friend involved in a drowning emergency. All youth will be predisposed to “acting” in an emergency rather than standing by as helpless witnesses. Dr. Pierre Theroux of the Montreal Heart Institute highlights the importance of the program. “One moment in life; you do not know when, nor where, nor who…. but if you know how… one life might be saved, one life for a lifetime.”

ACT’s initiative in the four Montreal schools builds upon the ACT Foundation’s 1997 launch of a pilot in 14 high schools from the English Montreal School Board and the Lester B. Pearson School Board. ACT has more recently launched the program in Laval and Rouyn-Noranda. Now, 3.500 students from 14 high schools will be trained in CPR each year.

Today’s launch kicks off the ACT Foundation’s fundraising campaign to raise funds for CPR training mannequins to allow schools to expand the program in Montreal, and to help bring the program to other Quebec communities. The Foundation is calling upon local businesses and service clubs to assist in donating mannequins to schools. ACT is pleased to announce the support of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation to assist ACT in finding funds for mannequins and in helping schools establish the program.

The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to establishing CPR as required learning in every Canadian high school. ACT raises funds for CPR mannequins and resources needed by schools. The Foundation works in partnership with health professionals, service clubs, and CPR agencies as teacher training partners, (e.g. Red Cross, Heart and Stroke Foundation and St. John Ambulance), government and the community to help school boards establish the program. ACT’s corporate health partners are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of empowering youth to save lives. They are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Aventis, Bayer Healthcare, Pfizer Canada and Pharmacia Canada.

“As staunch supporters of the ACT Foundation for the past 12 years, we are delighted to see a growing number of Quebec high schools embracing the CPR Program and its goals,” said Michel Tremblay, Director, Public Relations at Aventis Pharma Inc. “With its dual focus on emergency preparedness and prevention of cardiovascular disease, the program stands to contribute a great deal towards building a safer and a healthier society.”

Don Sancton, Director of Corporate Affairs at Pfizer Canada, adds, “Pfizer Canada is proud to be a sponsor of the tremendous work of the ACT Foundation. As a company dedicated to finding healthcare innovations, we are pleased to support the work of the ACT Foundation in equipping our population to meet healthcare emergencies. And as a Quebec-based company, we are very pleased to see the expansion of ACT’s programs in Quebec.”