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SAINT-JÉRÔME, QC, 22/02/07

Would you know what to do if faced with a heart attack?
Imagine a cross-provincial lifeline of emergency responders who do. A lifeline made up of Quebec’s youth, all equipped with the knowledge and skills to save a life.

The recent expansion of the award-winning ACT High School CPR Program to Quebec’s Laurentians region brings this concept one step closer, says Sandra Clarke, executive director of the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation, the non-profit organization that created the program.

“With February being ‘Heart Month’ I’m proud to say that tens of thousands of Quebec youth are being equipped each year with the knowledge to prevent cardiovascular disease and the skills to respond in emergency situations,” says Clarke. “The potential for saving lives is endless.”

She adds the program is especially important given that research indicates eight in 10 cardiac arrests occur at home and citizen CPR can improve survival rates for victims of cardiac arrest by almost fourfold.

The ACT High School CPR Program in the Laurentians will officially launch on Feb. 22 in St-Jérôme. The launch of the Program in this region will see over 2,000 students from nine area high schools empowered to save a life through CPR training. The communities reached through this implementation include Mont-Laurier, Mont-Tremblant, Ste-Agathe and St-Jérôme. Through its community-based model of partnerships and support, ACT works at the grassroots level to help communities find local partners who donate the mannequins and teacher training that schools need to set up the program. High school teachers then teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. Full implementation of the program in the Laurentians will result in more than 6,000 students trained in CPR by their teachers each year.

To date, the ACT High School CPR Program has been implemented in over 135 Quebec high schools and approximately 50,000 students have been empowered to save lives. The ACT Foundation’s goal in Quebec is to expand the CPR Program to an additional 400 schools. To help make this possible, ACT has secured a commitment of $600,000 from the Quebec government through its public / private funding partnership. Nationally, over 900,000 students from over 900 high schools have been trained in CPR through the program.

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is an award-winning, national non-profit organization driving a national campaign to establish CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. The ACT High School CPR Program is supported at the provincial level in Quebec by the Quebec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and Sun Life Financial. The Program is also supported at the local level by ACT’s community partners. Giant Tiger Stores Limited is lead community partner for the Laurentians region.

The Foundation and its core partners are winners of Imagine Canada’s “New Spirit of Community Partnership” Award. Core partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. For more information