Claire had just finished dinner when her 12-year-old daughter, Véronique, began chatting away about her day.
It was just a few weeks after Easter in 2007, and Véronique was eating mini chocolate eggs as she spoke. After handing a chocolate to her mother, she put another one in her mouth.
“Véronique must have inhaled at the same time because I turned around to see her raise her hands and grasp her neck”, says Claire. The egg was stuck. “I asked her if she could swallow and she indicated that she couldn’t. I told her I was going to do the Heimlich Manoeuvre.”
Claire, an English teacher at École secondaire catholique Champlain, learned the Heimlich Manoeuvre just a few months earlier thanks to the ACT High School CPR Program. Trained to teach the ACT Program to their students, the school’s physical education teachers decided to offer CPR training to members of the faculty as well.
Claire did as she was taught. She positioned herself behind her daughter and gave a strong thrust. The chocolate egg came flying out.
“My daughter was surprised by how forcefully the egg flew out. She started to cry,” says Claire.
She says her daughter’s next words were ones a mother could never forget.
“She looked at me and said ‘Mom, you saved my life,’” says the teacher.
While the incident lasted but a few minutes, Claire says it was an overwhelming one for both mother and daughter. “All night long I thought of what could have happened had I not known what to do,” she says. “The next day at school I thanked the two teachers who gave me the training – without it, I might not have known what to do.”
Claire says she will never forget the value of her skills and believes that all schools should have the ACT High School CPR Program. “I had been telling myself for years that I should learn it,” she says.
The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at École secondaire catholique Champlain thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Community partners in Sudbury are Inco Limited, the Sudbury Regional Hospital Emergency Physicians Group, and Tracks and Wheels. Provincial partners of the program are the Government of Ontario, Hydro One, Shoppers Drug Mart, and The Ontario Trillium Foundation.
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 Ontario 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.