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On October 23, a game was underway at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse in Charlesbourg, a neighbourhood northeast of Québec City. Michel, 51, stepped off the ice for a line change, but something wasn’t quite right…
“About 30 minutes after we started, I was sitting on the players’ bench,” says Michel. “I felt as though I was short of breath and I was progressively losing consciousness.”
“I noticed Michel had slipped from the bench and was struggling to breathe,” explains Pierre, who had never formally met Michel prior to being teammates that day. Jean, who was also playing that day, recounts how the events unfolded. “I yelled ‘Mike, are you OK?’ Pierre jumped onto the ice to stop the game and call for help. I watched Michel and there was no response.”
Michel had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.
As players gathered, Rudy skated over from the goal area to assess the scene. “I thought a player was injured,” says Rudy. “I saw that Michel was unconscious. The players laid him down on the bench and removed his equipment to begin CPR.”
Jean began chest compressions, while Rudy gave breaths and Pierre called for the arena’s defibrillator.
While the three men worked quickly to try to revive Michel, other players fanned out to get help. Guillaume, 17, was entering the arena for his speed skating practice when he heard an alarm. “It was the alarm related to the defibrillator,” explains Guillaume. “A hockey player asked me if I knew CPR.”
In fact, Guillaume had just learned CPR at his school, which began teaching the ACT High School CPR Program in 2005. He was ready to help if needed.
As Pierre explains, “the defibrillator advised us to defibrillate Michel.” “It only took one shock,” says Jean. “Michel came back to us at that point – and never left us again.”
Today, Michel is grateful to those who helped him: “I owe my life to those people.”
His story demonstrates the value of empowering citizens with the skills to save lives. The ACT Foundation continues its campaign to bring the defibrillator training program to all Quebec high schools, as an enhancement to its CPR program. Through generous community and provincial-level support, mannequins, defibrillator training units, teacher training and curriculum resources are donated to schools. The lead community partner in the Quebec City area is the Boston Pizza Foundation. Provincial partners of the program are the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Quebec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports.
ACT’s national health partners supporting the program in Quebec and throughout Canada are: AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi. 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 CPR and defibrillator training in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate training equipment and teacher training to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Over 1.8 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.