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Toronto student saves mother’s life

When Grade 11 Toronto student Ela’s mother started complaining of chest pain and nausea, she sprung into action, confidently using the skills she learned in her high school CPR course.

“I knew that these were not good signs for someone to be experiencing. I stayed beside her hoping that the pain would go away.”

But the pain continued, and within five minutes, 42-year-old Miranda became disoriented, fell off the couch and lost consciousness. Ela quickly called 911, providing detailed information to the operator. She checked for breathing and began artificial respiration (AR), breathing life back into her mother.

Upon arrival at the scene, paramedics told Ela she had done an excellent job and impressed upon her the importance of what she had done.

“They said that if I hadn’t been there, my mom’s chances of surviving would have been very slim. The 911 operator also congratulated me on a ‘job well done.'”

Doctors informed Ela that her mother had suffered a mild heart attack. They also confirmed that Miranda wouldn’t have survived without her daughter’s quick action.

“I was really happy that I was taught in Grade 9 how to perform CPR and AR. If it hadn’t been for the class then I wouldn’t have been able to perform AR on my mom because I wouldn’t have known how to,” Ela says. “I’m happy to say that my mother is doing really well and she’s really watching how she treats her body.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in Madonna Catholic Secondary School, Ela’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 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.