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Ottawa student saves father’s life with CPR

When Scott’s younger sister woke him up at 5 a.m., one winter morning, he knew something was seriously wrong.

The eighteen-year-old Ottawa student was sound asleep when his sister Amy ran frantically into his room. “Dad isn’t waking up,” she exclaimed.

A few minutes earlier, 12-year old Amy, had woken up with a headache and gone to see her parents. Her mom, Margo, told her to go get some aspirin. While trying to get back to sleep, Margo noticed her husband, Alan, was making odd noises and something just wasn’t right.

“He was turning blue,” Margo says. “I jumped out of bed and tried to shake him, telling him to wake up.”

Nothing was working.

That’s when Margo called for Amy to get Scott, who was sleeping downstairs.

“I got up right away,” says Scott, who ran upstairs to his parents’ room where he found his father lying face down on the bed. “I rolled him over and right away I knew what I had to do,” he says.

Scott and his 15-year old brother Matt, who had woken from the commotion, moved their dad onto the floor while their mother called 9-1-1.

Scott checked for vitals – there weren’t any.

“I was kind of in shock,” he says. “I went into CPR right away.”

Scott received lifesaving training in his physical education class through the ACT High School CPR Program at Brookfield High School in Ottawa. Scott says this background prepared him well.

“When I was doing CPR on my dad, I was thinking of all the training I got,” he says. “It came naturally.”

Following arrival of the paramedics and transport to hospital, it was later confirmed that Alan had suffered a cardiac arrest. He has since made a full recovery and is forever grateful to his quick-acting son.

“When I think back to what happened, I’m so proud and grateful that my son saved my life,” says Alan, who urges everyone to learn CPR. “It could be you saving your father’s life, you just never know.”

For Scott, the lifesaving power of CPR is something he will never forget. “The biggest honour was giving life back to the man who gave me life.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in Scott’s school thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. The lead community partner in Ottawa is the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa. The print partner which donates the printing of the student manual is the Ottawa Citizen. Provincial partners of the program are the Government of Ontario, Hydro One, 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. More than 1,500,000 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 Canada, 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.