It was a warm and sunny day in August and Katie and her dad, Doug, had just returned home after a day of fishing.
Exhausted, Katie went to relax in her room when she heard her mom screaming and calling her name.
Katie rushed down the stairs to find her dad unresponsive and not breathing. “At that point I thought he was dead. I panicked, but I said to myself ‘I am going to try’,” she recalls.
Quickly, she passed the phone to her mom so she could call 911. “My mom was trying to do CPR and call an ambulance at the same time, so I urged her to stop because she wasn’t doing the chest compressions in the right spot and the right way,” recalls Katie. “Katie pushed me out of the way and took over,” adds Donna, Katie’s mom.
Immediately, Katie reverted to her high school CPR training. She continued the chest compressions until the arrival of the paramedics. “Around the time the paramedics arrived, my dad started breathing again.”
At the hospital the doctor congratulated Katie for helping save her dad’s life. “The doctor asked me how I knew what to do, I told him I had learned CPR at school. He said that everyone should take that course and that my dad is alive because I knew CPR.”
Katie’s mom agrees, “I am very proud of her, she did what she had to do to save her dad’s life.”
“If I hadn’t taken the course, I don’t think I would have known what to do. The compressions were easier to do it in real life than in class,” says Katie.
“The hands-on CPR experience that the students get through the ACT High School CPR and AED program is extremely important. You never know when you’re going to have to react,” affirms Katie’s teacher, Mr. Mandville.
Katie shares that this experience influenced her decision to pursue a career in health sciences. “As my dad is diabetic I am always ready to take care of him. Going through this experience made me want to be a paramedic.”
The ACT High School CPR program was implemented in the Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in Oshawa in 2004. The AED enhancement was added to the program in 2013. This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of community partner, Ontario Power Generation Darlington Nuclear, Aprovincial partners, Government of Ontario, Hydro One, and The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and ACT’s national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.
The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the award-winning, national charitable organization establishing free CPR and defibrillator 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. More than 3.6 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.