One evening in April, Jimmy, 17, and Malik, 16, were playing their weekly game of ball hockey, involving parents, students and other community members, in the gym of a local school in their Montreal neighbourhood.
As Malik was getting ready to leave the gym, he saw one of his teammates, Marc, 47, collapse.
“At first, I didn’t know what was going on, but very quickly we saw his face turn blue and we realized he wasn’t breathing” Malik says.
During that time, Jimmy was in the dressing room unaware of the situation. “My dad ran up to me and asked me to call 911,” he recalls. Jimmy then rushed to the gym to see what was happening.
“As soon as I saw Marc lying on the ground without any vital signs, I panicked. I got the urge to run away, but then I recalled the CPR training I received in high school and knew I needed to do something,” he says.
While the school custodian, Jean-Christophe, who is also the team coach, ran to get the school Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Jimmy and Malik took charge of the situation and quickly started CPR.
“The AED was very easy to use because it told us exactly what to do,” they say. “The instructions given by the AED were extremely helpful during the procedure,” acknowledges Malik.
The two boys continued following the instructions given by the defibrillator, alternating between compressions and defibrillation until the arrival of the paramedics and firefighters.
A week later, during their ball hockey practice, Jimmy and Malik found out that Marc was alive and well.
While Malik recognizes the AED as an essential lifesaving machine, Marc’s wife, Anne-Marie commends the two boys for saving her husband’s life.
“The paramedics told me that what Jimmy and Malik did was paramedic work that day. Thanks to the ACT training they received from their teacher Mrs. Gagnon, we still have my husband by our side. Without that initiative, he would have died,” she says.
“I could have never anticipated that moment, it all happened so quickly,” admits Jimmy. “Having the High School CPR training under my belt gave me the confidence I needed to know what to do and to know how to act. Without it, I wouldn’t have put myself in the midst of the action,” he adds.
The ACT High School CPR program was set up in École secondaire de la Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montreal in 2007 thanks to the support provided by the Government of Quebec. ACT’s health partners supporting the program in Montreal, throughout Quebec and across Canada are AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi Canada. 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 free 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 3.2 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.