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David had just left the supermarket when he noticed an elderly gentleman slumped in the driver’s seat of his car.
“He was hunched over and kind of looked like he was sleeping,” said David, who had just completed his ACT High School CPR Program a few weeks before. “I wasn’t sure if he was breathing.”
David, just 16-years-old at the time, walked quickly to the car and started speaking to the man through his unrolled window.
“I said, ‘Sir, can you hear me?’ and there was no response,” said David. “So I stuck my hand through the window and I gently shook him.”
“He looked like a wax figurine and his eyes were kind of glazed,” said David. “I thought – ‘Oh my God, this man might be dead.’”
David told his friends, who had also just completed the course, to go back to the store for help. Another bystander in the parking lot called 911.
“I checked his pulse and there was nothing,” explained David, who at the instruction of the 911 operator, pulled the man out of the car.
“We laid a coat under his head, and I started to perform CPR right away,” said David. “At school my teacher told us that we just needed to be calm, so when I started doing it I just tilted his chin up, opened up his passageway, listened for breathing, did two breaths and then 30 compressions.”
David continued CPR, and when the police and paramedics arrived they took over. Unfortunately, the man did not survive.
“We couldn’t believe what had happened,” said David. “It was really sad, but everyone said there was nothing more I could have done.”
David’s teachers and parents were very proud that he was able to use the skills he had learned and have the courage to try and save someone’s life.
“We are quite impressed with him and how he responded in the situation,” said David’s father, Bryan.
“The medics told him he did everything right and he did an excellent job,” Bryan continued. “We were totally amazed and are just so proud of him.”
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least that David stepped up to the plate and tried to help,” said Hugh, vice-principal and phys-ed department head at New Norway School. “He is a very great leader in our school and has been for years. He has a positive impact on his peers and he always just naturally gravitates towards doing the right thing.”
“I’m so thankful that the kids remember the skills we teach them and have the moxie to actually implement the things they have learned,” said Hugh.
David said that because of his experience, he is a steadfast supporter of all youth receiving CPR training.
“I realized that the man had already died on the scene and that was really unfortunate,” said David. “But I now know that I have the instinct and the skill if I ever face another emergency.”
“Before I took the class I had no idea how to do it, so the ACT program prepared me to stay calm and I think I did a good job,” he said.
“It is really important to teach young kids about this because there are many situations where young people will be first at the scene,” said David. “This is important for everyone to know, so we all have the chance to save a life.”
The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in New Norway School thanks to the generous support of the STARS Foundation and Alberta Education, who are founding partners of the Alberta program. Mannequins and curriculum resources were donated to the schools and teachers are trained as CPR instructors for their students.
Also responsible are ACT’s core partners, 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 Alberta program and ACT’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 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. More than 900,000 youth have been trained in CPR through this lifesaving program to date.