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You never know when a student may use the skills learned in the ACT High School CPR Program – and that is precisely what 17-year-old student Jonathan learned one summer day at his part-time job.

Jonathan was working as a busboy at a Montreal-based hotel, when a woman burst into the hallway screaming for help.

“She looked pretty scared,” said Jonathan, who was then led by the woman to an older man, who had collapsed.

“He wasn’t moving and his mouth was open,” said Jonathan. “So I pushed past a couple of other waiters and tried to wake him up.”

Then, Jonathan said, he quickly realized the man wasn’t breathing.

“I touched his neck to check his pulse and couldn’t find one,” said Jonathan. “So I told the woman who grabbed me to call 911.”

Before Jonathan could begin using the CPR skills he learned two years earlier at LaurenHill Academy in Montreal, a doctor stepped forward and took over.

But what Jonathan did is still an incredible act.

“He had already committed himself,” said Jonathan’s phys-ed teacher, Russell. “He secured the scene, he had the man in the right position, he had the people getting help, and he had the paramedics coming. Everything was correct for when that doctor arrived.”

Russell has been teaching the ACT High School CPR Program since Montreal’s program pilot in 1997.

“I am the number one proponent for this program,” he said. “There can’t be a bigger fan of the ACT High School CPR Program – it is the most important thing they learn in high school.”

“These things happen,” he said. “Life presents these situations to you, and you need to be able to relax, go back to your training and act. This is what I teach.”

Russell said that he and his colleagues are very proud of Jonathan.

“The moment something like this happens you have to make your decision: you can be a spectator, or you can be a major contributor,” said Russell. “Jonathan was a major contributor.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in LaurenHill Academy thanks to the generous support of ACT’s Quebec provincial partners: J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, McKesson Canada, the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Quebec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports, Scotiabank and Sun Life Financial. Mannequins and curriculum resources were donated to the school and the teachers were trained as CPR instructors for their students.

Also responsible are ACT’s core partners, 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 Quebec Program and national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

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. More than 900,000 youth have been trained in CPR through this lifesaving program to date.