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It was an exciting day in October for Anthony Macaluso, football coach and Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School ACT instructor. He was invited to teach coaching during a NFL event in Dundas Square, Toronto. The day was going smoothly, until Anthony and his colleagues heard a loud noise. “Looking over, we noticed that a worker at the field kicking contest station had collapsed hitting her head when she fell. She started to convulse. That is when I ran over and started the lifesaving process,” he recalls.

Anthony quickly dialled 9-1-1 and cared for the young woman while her seizure continued. When her seizure stopped, he saw that she began to turn blue. Checking for breathing, Anthony found that the woman’s breathing had stopped. He opened her airway and she immediately gasped for breath. The woman regained consciousness and Anthony assisted her until the paramedics arrived.

Throughout the incident, Anthony recalls feeling concern for the woman, but never once doubted his ability to help. “I didn’t feel nervous. I just immediately went into the zone and my training just came back to me”. The teacher was relieved when the woman regained consciousness and alertness before being transported by the paramedics.

CPR is like a tool to have under your tool belt. You hope it does not leak, but if it does, you have your wrench handy.

Speaking about the importance of students learning CPR during their high school education, Anthony says: “It is like a tool to have under your tool belt. You hope it does not leak, but if it does, you have your wrench handy!”

Ever since the set-up of the High school CPR program in 2008 in the Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary school, Hamilton, more than 370 students have been trained every year. This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of community partner, FirstOntario Credit Union, our provincial partners, Government of Ontario, Hydro One and Ontario Trillium Foundation and our national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi 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. More than 2.9 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.