It was a Sunday evening in mid-February and 15-year-old Marielle was in the living room watching Star Académie with her mother. Not a fan of the reality singing competition, her father Paul, 50, escaped downstairs to watch the hockey game.
Suddenly, Marielle heard a loud sound from downstairs and her brother ran into the living room, calling for help. All three ran down to find Paul had collapsed.
Marielle sprung into action, calling 911 and starting CPR after finding her father unresponsive and not breathing. The 911 operator counted the compressions out loud with her and her mother. Shortly after, paramedics arrived and took over, continuing CPR and shocking Paul with the automated external defibrillator (AED).
Paul has since made a full recovery and credits Marielle and her CPR training with saving his life. “I survived because of my daughter,” says Paul. “I’m so thankful that she knew how to do CPR. She saved my life.”
Marielle also praises her training for giving her the confidence to know what to do. “I was stressed because I didn’t know if my dad would be alright,” she says. “But I didn’t hesitate. I knew the technique, I knew how to do the compressions.”
She urges all students to learn CPR: “It’s important to know how you can save a life, how to help someone.”
Paul agrees. “It’s a life saved,” he says. “My daughter may have thought that it would never happen to her, but she saved my life. Everyone should know how to do CPR.” Since then, Paul has kept active and even participated in a team triathlon challenge in 2014. “I am a walking miracle thanks to CPR and Marielle,” says the proud father.
In 2005, the ACT High School CPR Program was set up in Marielle’s Sainte-Marie high school, about 45 minutes south of Quebec City, thanks to the generous support that enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Partners are the Club Kiwanis de Sainte-Marie (Beauce) and the Government of Quebec.
ACT’s health partners supporting the program in Beauce, throughout Quebec and across Canada are AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.
The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR and AED training programs in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate mannequins and teacher training to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Over 2.6 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.