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One winter evening, Sarah, a teacher at Burnett Secondary School, was working at her second job. “I’ve been a waitress for almost ten years. That day I received my very first 100% tip,” she says. The reason being: she saved a life.

Sarah’s first table of the night was a party of seven. One of the children was in the middle of a bite, when he started coughing. Sarah looked over and saw the little boy jump up from his seat and grab on to his collar. “Next thing I know, he starts choking,” remembers Sarah.

Quickly, she placed her tray down and walked over to the table. “I looked at the dad and saw a look of horror on his face that I will never forget,” she says. “His look gave me the permission to take over and help,” she adds.

Pulling the chair out of the way, she grabbed the boy and leaned him forward on her arm. “I started giving him back blows,” Sarah recalls. “My only hope was that everything we had learned in our CPR class a few months before was really going to work.” After the fifth blow, the boy’s body suddenly relaxed. Sarah looked at his face and realized that he was able to breathe again.

The relieved parents thanked Sarah for saving their son’s life. “I felt thankful that I received the training and that I knew what to do,” says Sarah.

“Being CPR trained is vital,” she adds. “I never thought I was going to have to use the skills I learned, but you never know when you may need them.”

The ACT High School CPR and AED Program was set up in Burnett Secondary School in Richmond, BC thanks to the support of community partner, TELUS Vancouver Community Board, provincial partner, BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics and staff, and ACT’s health partners AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing free CPR and AED 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. Over 3.6 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.