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Teacher saves mother

Christine noticed her mother, Margaret, was walking much slower than usual and started complaining of chest pain. She was also short of breath on that day in July 2005.

Remembering the signs of a heart attack that she had learned through ACT’s Teacher Training Workshop that spring, Christine knew she had to get her mother to the hospital immediately. Margaret had four of the five signs.

“I was scared for my mom but I was happy that I knew the right signs, and what to do,” says Christine.

Doctors at the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital confirmed that Margaret was suffering a heart attack. They transferred her to Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, where she underwent an angioplasty and fully recovered.

Early recognition is one of the best ways to improve survival rates. Thanks to her daughter’s ability to recognize the signs of a heart attack, the grandmother of nine recently celebrated her 80th birthday.

Christine believes if she hadn’t been there to recognize the signs of a heart attack, her mother would never have gone to the hospital and might have died. In fact, the day before, when Margaret had experienced intense pain in her chest, she went to the pharmacy to buy heartburn medication and disregarded the pain, even when it didn’t go away.

Margaret says she truly believes her daughter saved her life.

“I’m grateful for Chrissy. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her. It’s a good thing she knew the signs of a heart attack and knew CPR,” says Margaret.

Christine calls the ACT Program “vital” and says she is happy to teach it to her Grade 9 students each year at Woodbine Junior High School in Toronto. “The more people know it, the better chance of saving lives,” she says.

Margaret couldn’t agree more.

“I think this is a good program,” she says. “It works. Everybody should know how to recognize the signs (of a heart attack) and know CPR. It saves lives.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at Woodbine Junior High 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 Toronto is the Kiwanis Club of Toronto. Provincial partners of the program are the Government of Ontario, Hydro One, Shoppers Drug Mart, 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. Over 900,000 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, 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.