Twenty-five-year-old Naomi had a heart condition known to her family. On this day in November 2005, she says she felt “young and healthy”.
Sheldon, a high school teacher at Andrew High School stood in shock as a woman and man began to administer two-person CPR. But when someone suddenly yelled for more help, the emergency skills Sheldon learned a month earlier through the ACT Foundation’s Teacher Training Workshop kicked in and he helped the other rescuers.
Naomi was still unconscious when the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital. “My heart had stopped beating for ten minutes. If Sheldon and the others had not been there, I might not have survived,” says Naomi. “We have a different kind of relationship now.”
At the hospital, the young mother of two received an internal cardiac defibrillator and now takes regular medication. She says she feels fine and is able to live a normal life.
Now when Sheldon teaches the lifesaving skills to his high school students he can tell them firsthand why it’s important. “I used it. You never know when you’ll need to use the skills,” says Sheldon. ”It’s invaluable.”
Naomi says she hopes her story can help show students that heart problems can affect people of every age. She says that signs of her condition can start showing at puberty, so she hopes the ACT Program will help bring awareness to students who might themselves suffer from a heart condition, or know someone who does.
Sheldon says he now fully understands the ACT Foundation’s mission to establish the CPR program in every Canadian high school. “All schools should have this program, it should be mandatory,” he says.
The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at Andrew High School thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Community partners are the Tegler Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Edmonton and the Kiwanis Club of Sherwood Park, while provincial partners of the program are Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).
The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate mannequins, teacher training, manuals and other materials to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Teachers teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum. Over 900,000 youth have been trained in CPR through this lifesaving program to date.
Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.