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Quebec students to be empowered to save lives!

MONTREAL, October 24, 2005 — Many Quebec high schools will be equipped to empower students to save lives through a commitment announced today by Minister of Health and Social Services Philippe Couillard to the ACT High School CPR program. Details were announced by Minister Couillard during a press conference at École secondaire Honoré Mercier, in Montreal this morning.

“The commitment announced today by Health Minister Couillard on behalf of the Quebec Government will result in thousands of youth being empowered to save lives,” says ACT Foundation Executive Director Sandra Clarke. “It will also provide tremendous momentum to our “Dollars for Mannequins” fundraising campaign, aimed at bringing the CPR program to all Quebec high schools.” Based on the ACT Foundation’s award-winning community based model, the Foundation fundraises for resources that schools need to set up the CPR program (e.g. mannequins, teacher training and materials) and guides schools in setting up a long-term and self-sustaining program. High school teachers then teach students the CPR program as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all students prior to graduation.

Since starting a pilot in several Montreal area schools in 1997, the ACT Foundation has brought the lifesaving CPR program to 50 Quebec high schools. Over 7,000 youth will be trained this year. Momentum is high with 80 more schools seeking the program. ACT’s “Dollars for Mannequins” campaign involves a public-private funding partnership model with a goal of raising $1.2 million. The ACT Foundation has raised $500,000 from the private sector and the community. This includes a $200,000 commitment from Sun Life Financial. Other program partners include Bell Canada, Hydro Quebec, Jean Coutu Group, McKesson Canada, RBC Royal Bank and Scotiabank. A number of Kiwanis service clubs and other community partners are also involved. The Montreal-based J.W. McConnell Family Foundation has also made a $315,000 donation to the ACT Foundation to support ACT’s community coordination role in helping schools throughout the province set up the CPR program.

The ACT Foundation still needs to raise $400,000 for mannequins to reach its $1.2 million fundraising goal to bring the CPR program to all high schools. Once implemented in all Quebec high schools, 75,000 students will be trained in the lifesaving skill of CPR every year by their high school teachers as a life skill. Research indicates that CPR response by citizens can improve the out-of-hospital survival rate for cardiac arrest almost fourfold. With 85% of out of hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term.

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the CPR program to every Canadian high school. ACT raises funds for CPR mannequins for schools and guides schools in program set-up. The Foundation has established the CPR program in over 700 high schools across Canada. Over 700,000 Canadian students have been trained to date. The ACT Foundation’s corporate health partners are companies in the research-intensive 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 goal of promoting health and empowering youth to save lives. For more information