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During Easter weekend, a group of students from Val d’Or, QC., were enjoying a class trip to Washington, D.C. Caroline and a few other adults were accompanying the hundred or so students as they took in the sights around the American capital city.

The bus was bringing the students back to the hotel after a full day of tours when Caroline noticed her colleague next to her seemed out of sorts. “He suddenly had trouble articulating,” says Caroline. “He also seemed to have lost sensation on one side of his body, as though it was paralysed.” Caroline quickly recognized the symptoms of a stroke.

Schools have the opportunity to reach all youth. If every school offered lifesaving training, then all citizens will eventually have these skills.

“It all happened very quickly,” explains Caroline. “The first thing I did was ask another colleague to call 9-1-1. She asked the driver to pull over to the side of the interstate. Then I checked the victim’s vital signs.”

“At the time, most of us were in a state of shock. I was trembling. We were a few teachers on board the bus so naturally, we divided the tasks of monitoring my colleague and ensuring help was on the way. I kept checking his pulse and asking him questions.” The ambulance arrived quickly, and Caroline accompanied her colleague to the local hospital where he began his recovery.

Just two weeks prior to this event, Caroline had taught the ACT High School CPR Program for the first time to a group of students at Polyvalente Le Carrefour. Caroline believes training is key to ensuring a quick response to an emergency. “It’s so important to step up, not to hesitate – you just never know when an emergency could take place. Schools have the opportunity to reach all youth. If every school offers lifesaving training, then all citizens will eventually have these skills.”

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR and Defibrillator training in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate training equipment and teacher training to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Over 2.9 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi are ACT’s national health partners and are committed to the Foundation’s goal of promoting health while ensuring lifesaving skills become basic life skills for generations of Canadians.