On a beautiful day in spring, Jean-Gilles, a physical education teacher in Sudbury, was getting ready to leave the house. “I was in the driveway when I heard my wife call out my name.”
“Our two-year-old was choking on a hot dog. My wife panicked and then she remembered I’d know what to do and knew I did,” he recalls.
Jean-Gilles rushed in the house and gave his son abdominal thrusts, an act that saved his life. “I remembered the feeling of practicing it with my students and the training just took over. As a parent, it was strange to have to do it on my own son,” he adds.
Every year, Jean-Gilles empowers his students with lifesaving CPR and AED skills as part of the physical education curriculum.
“It’s a life skill. Every kid knows someone who’s affected by heart conditions, or other health problems. If something happens, they’ll be able to act,” he says about the importance of the classes he teaches. “Learning CPR is a no brainer, it’s like learning how to walk,” he emphasizes.
The ACT High School CPR and AED Program was set up in Bishop Alexander Carter Catholic Secondary School in partnership with lead community partner Vale and other community partners, provincial partners, the Government of Ontario, Hydro One, and The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and ACT’s national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, Amgen Canada.
The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the 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.