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On a cold March day in Grande Prairie, Alberta, 16-year-old Taven was enjoying time at home with his girlfriend Ashley, when she started to choke. “I had just put a piece of gum in my mouth when it got stuck in my throat. I panicked and grabbed my throat,” remembers Ashley.

Taven realized Ashley could no longer breathe, “She was bent over on the island in the kitchen, her face was down, and she was trying to cough, but then the coughing stopped,” recounts Taven. Trying to remain calm, he rushed to her aid, “I started doing abdominal thrusts, and she kind of fell backwards on me. ” After three abdominal thrusts a piece of gum flew out of Ashley’s mouth.

Both Taven and Ashley learnt their lifesaving skills four days before through the ACT High School CPR Program as part of their physical education class at Grande Prairie Composite High School.

“I learnt the universal sign for choking during our class,” says Ashley, who used it to signal to Taven that she was in urgent need of help.

“I just learnt all this CPR a few days ago. If I hadn’t learned it before it happened, something else would have happened, guaranteed,” says Taven emphasizing the importance of the program.

The ACT Foundation and the Government of Alberta (Ministry of Education) set up the High School CPR Program in Taven and Ashley’s high school in 2002, with support from local partners – the Community Foundation of Greater Grande Prairie – David and Susan Ainsworth Fund, and the Stars 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 and teacher training to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Over 1.8 million youth across Canada have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

ACT’s health partners supporting the program in Grande Prairie, in Alberta and throughout Canada are AstraZeneca Canada, 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.