Special needs youth saves his mother from choking in Toronto

On a warm summer afternoon, Ms. Chandler was preparing a barbecue for her family, while her children played outside. She went to the kitchen to toast bruschetta to go with the meal. Taking a few bites of the baguette, she found herself unable to breathe. “I started chocking. I actually had visions of my whole life passing before my eyes,” she shares about that frightening experience.

In no time, her older son, Matthew, walked into the kitchen. “It’s okay mom, I know what to do,” Matthew exclaimed. With two strong abdominal thrusts, the obstruction flew out. “I’ve never felt so relieved in my whole life,” she recalls. Matthew’s calm energy was much needed to soothe his mother’s fear as he instructed her to sit down and offered her a glass of water. “I was relieved, I thought I was going to lose my mom,” shares Matthew.

Matthew, who is autistic, has learned how to perform the abdominal thrusts through the ACT CPR program in the Marshall McLuhan High School. “I have been taught by Miss. Fitzpatrick how to help someone who is choking. I remembered what to do and I helped my mom. It’s easy to remember and to do,” tells Matthew.

Ms. Fitzpatrick, who was Matthew’s phys-ed teacher says “Having the ACT CPR program in schools is extremely important because it ensures that every single young person across the province gets the same opportunity to learn crucial life saving skills.”
“I am proud because I know that he could go anywhere and help if ever someone is in trouble,” says Ms. Chandler of her son.

The ACT High School CPR program was set up in Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School in 2012 and every year 240 students, like Matthew, learn lifesaving skills. This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of our community partner, Kiwanis Club of Toronto, our provincial partners, Government of Ontario and Hydro One, and our national health partners, Astra Zeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the award-winning, national charitable organization establishing free CPR and defibrillator 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 3.6 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

Toronto Teacher uses CPR and AED skills on three people

When Peter McKenzie, a Toronto physical education teacher, trains his Grade 9 students in CPR he tells them, “I never thought I’d have to use these skills, but I did, on three different people.”

At the right place at the right time, Peter was able to use his life-saving skills and knowledge on three distinct occasions.

“I was playing ultimate Frisbee off the school property with a group of people when a player collapsed on the field next to ours” remembers Peter who quickly assessed the situation and realized the man was unconscious and not breathing. As another bystander dialled 911 and started CPR, Peter ran to get the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

“AEDs are very simple to use with even the slightest amount of training. Knowing that it is impossible to harm a person by using an AED incorrectly has given me the confidence to use an AED for three different medical emergencies,” he says.
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After a single shock the man regained consciousness before the arrival of the paramedics. “It was truly miraculous,” says Peter. “My biggest contribution was recognizing one of the signs of cardiac arrest and retrieving the AED as fast as I could,” he adds.

The second life saved was that of a student during a game of lunch hour basketball. A player ran over to Peter to let him know that one of the students, had collapsed. “I could tell he was unresponsive as soon as I saw him on the ground,” says Peter. “I called the office and told them to dial 911 and to send the AED to the gym.” Peter alternated between CPR and shocks until the arrival of the paramedics. The student is now alive and well because Peter knew what to do.

On another occasion, a student had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during his physical education class. “He just collapsed on the gym floor,” Peter recalls. He immediately prepared the AED for use and proceeded with CPR. Despite all efforts to resuscitate him, the student never regained consciousness. Looking back on the tragic event, Peter says, “It has been difficult to cope with this tragedy and to witness the family’s grief but I feel some comfort in knowing that I did everything I could,

Speaking of the importance of high school CPR training for his students, Peter says, “Teaching CPR and AED skills empowers my students to feel they can help in even the most serious of medical emergencies. By using these skills they may one day save the life of a loved one. Even if their attempts at resuscitation are unsuccessful, they may at least take comfort in knowing they didn’t stand idly by but did all they could to save a life.”

The ACT High School CPR and AED program was set up in Greenwood Secondary School in Toronto, in partnership with provincial partners, the Government of Ontario, Hydro One and The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and ACT’s national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an 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.

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.

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.

Teacher comes to aid of unconscious student

While cheering with the other students on the way to the camp’s breakfast cabin, the 14-year-old suddenly collapsed and experienced a seizure.

“The morning was supposed to be just a regular day. I was to shower and get myself ready for breakfast just like everyone else,” says teacher Janet.

That’s when a student rushed to her cabin for help. Still dressed in her pajamas, Janet remembered the training she had received through ACT’s Teacher Training Program and quickly asked a fellow teacher to call 9-1-1 and told another student to meet the ambulance at the entrance of the camp.

Janet ran to the scene and sprang into action. Finding Samantha on the ground going in and out of consciousness, she placed her in the recovery position, cleared the area of anything that could hurt her and talked to her continuously.

“I was cool and collected. I kept calm,” says Janet, who credits her CPR training with giving her more confidence to take charge. “This experience, after-the-fact, gave me more confidence when it comes to helping out in an emergency.”

Janet first received CPR training at an ACT Foundation Teacher Training Workshop eight years prior in 1998 when her Toronto school, Loretto Abbey High School, implemented mandatory CPR training as part of the school’s curriculum.

Her training paid off.

Samantha returned to consciousness just before the paramedics arrived.

“I was happy she knew what to do,” Samantha says of her teacher. “I’m looking forward to going through the ACT Program (myself). Maybe I can help people around me.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at Loretto Abbey 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.