Dewinton family saves grandfather from choking

Rebecca Ferguson is still overwhelmed by emotion when she speaks of the night her father choked on his food at a family dinner.

Instantly, her husband Rich, son Ryan and daughter Caitlin leaped into action –her entire family of four worked as a team to save 87-year-old David Hogg’s life.

“My son Ryan got up and started to do the Heimlich Manoeuvre a few times, while my wife Rebecca called 911,” said Rich. “Then I tried to administer the Heimlich Manoeuvre as well, because after a minute or two he had lost consciousness.”

Rich, Ryan and Caitlin all worked together, taking turns holding David up and performing numerous abdominal thrusts.

“Both of the kids were an incredible help,” said Rich. “They stayed calm, there was no panicking, and my wife was on the phone with the ambulance. We all worked as a team, and it was amazing how calm we all were, considering he was turning blue.”

After several minutes of abdominal thrusts, the food was dislodged from David’s throat.

“We are so proud of our kids,” said Rebecca, her voice breaking.

“Ryan said to me: ‘Mom – it really isn’t a big deal,’” said Rebecca, explaining how humble her children have been about the rescue.

“But this is a big deal to me,” Rebecca stressed. “That is my dad, and my kids and husband worked together to save his life.”

“The fact that they stepped forward and even tried is incredible,” she continued. “I look at my kids and know that if they can do that – they can do anything.”

Ryan, who was 15-years-old at the time of the rescue, had completed the ACT High School CPR Program just two weeks before. Caitlin, 21, had taken several CPR courses in the past.

“At first I was really scared, I think everyone was,” said Ryan. “He was on the ground and I was worried.”

“But I didn’t really think,” Ryan added. “Everyone at that time just jumped up and worked together.”

Ryan, who takes his high school courses through correspondence, visited the Centre for Learning in Okotoks, Alberta, to complete the ACT High School CPR Program as a part of his physical education curriculum.

His gym teacher Niki Doyle was thrilled when she heard about the rescue.

“She had a hard time relaying the information because it was so emotional for her,” said Niki of Ryan’s mother Rebecca. “It was just so amazing to hear – her children were saving her father’s life.”

“I think they are all heroes,” said Niki of the Ferguson family. “This was a human life they saved – and Ryan was a real leader in that rescue. Everyone in the family played a part and they worked as a team.”

NIki says she enjoys teaching the ACT High School CPR Program to her students, and since speaking with Rebecca, she always starts the course with the story of the Ferguson rescue.

“When the kids come in they are often tentative,” said Niki. “But by the end they are so engaged, and they realize the course is way more fun and practical than they expected it to be.”

“Everyone should take this course because you never know,” said Ryan.

“We did it in a couple of hours,” he added. “It was a breeze.”

“I think it would be crazy for people not to learn CPR, and not just because of what happened with our family,” said Rebecca. “Even before this happened, when we found out Ryan was going to have the course, I thought it was such a great idea.”

“It is absolutely wonderful and I wish I’d had it growing up,” said Rebecca.

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in the Centre for Learning, a division of the Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools, thanks to the generous support of ACT’s founding provincial partners the STARS Foundation and Alberta Education. Mannequins and curriculum resources were donated to the school and the Calgary Emergency Medical Services (EMS) donated their time to train teachers 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 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.

Alberta teachers save student’s life

Mandi peddled her bike hard as she raced past her classmates back to her high school during gym class that hot spring day.

It was just before noon in Barrhead, Alberta – on what would’ve been her late mother’s 40th birthday. And while a then 15-year-old Mandi craved the thrill of beating the other girls in this last leg of their cycling unit, there was another reason why she was in a hurry to get back.

Mandi – an asthmatic – was having trouble breathing and needed to get to her inhaler.

“I had to stop every few minutes – my mouth was so dry and I had no water,” says the teen, who was diagnosed with asthma at 13 but had never experienced anything like this before. “I was coughing up blood from breathing so hard. Students were stopping to ask if I was alright and I would say yes – I’m really stubborn.”

When she finally made it back to the gym locker room, Mandi says she was breathing as heavily as when she had been peddling.

Her physical education teacher, Gayle, was in the gym preparing for her lunch-time intramural practice when a student alerted her to Mandi’s condition.

She found Mandi sitting on a bench, leaning over in distress. Her breathing was laboured and irregular and there were a few other students in the room. She fought to stay calm.

“Not everyone in the school has emergency training. You hope you never have to use it,” says Gayle, who learned how to respond in an emergency through the ACT High School CPR Program.

Gayle knew Mandi was asthmatic. She helped her take a few puffs of her inhaler. Another physical education teacher, Steven, rushed over to help. He had also been trained through the ACT Program at Barrhead Composite High. He called 9-1-1 and quickly hurried back.

Mandi was getting worse.

“I took my inhaler, drank some water, sat back down – nothing seemed to work,” says Mandi. “I put my head between my hands….the bell rang…that’s all I remember.”

Mandi stopped breathing.

Gayle laid her on her side and checked for signs of life – her pulse was weak. Steven began performing artificial respiration (AR).

“I was scared at the time, frightened and worried that she was going to die,” says Steven, who had never performed the technique before. “I was amazed at how Mandi’s chest expanded when I blew in – I could see it rise several inches.”

The school called Mandi’s grandmother, Ruby, who had been taking care of Mandi and her 16-year-old brother Joey ever since their mother passed away from heart failure when Mandi was just seven years old. They told her to come quickly.

“I was in the garden when the school called to tell me to come right away because Mandi was unconscious,” says Ruby. “I made my way to the school – it’s only a few minutes away – and I could hear them in the room working on her. I cried and prayed more than anything…she’s so young.”

The paramedics arrived and gave Mandi oxygen and CPR. They took her to Barrhead Health Centre. Mandi says she awoke to a very concerned grandmother and brother.

“The first thing I remember is that my chest hurt from the CPR and my family looked so upset,” says Mandi. She was released later that night and went back to school a couple of days later.

Ruby says she is forever grateful to Gayle and Steven for bringing her granddaughter back to her.

“Thank goodness for the teachers who knew what to do,” says Ruby. “It’s the greatest thing they could have done for our family.”

Today, at 18, Mandi says this experience has changed her life forever.

“This whole thing kind of opened my eyes. I used to have nothing to work towards,” says Mandi. “I came so close to dying. I don’t want to die young like my mom.”
She is now looking forward to going to college for a business degree in the fall.

Steven says helping to save Mandi’s life has reinforced for him the importance of CPR and the value of the ACT High School CPR Program – not just for students, but for teachers too.

“It’s given me motivation to keep up with my training,” he says. “The result could have been irreversible. That’s not a burden I would want to carry as a teacher or a parent.

“I would expect the same from teachers taking care of my children.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at Barrhead Composite High thanks to the generous support of Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in Alberta), which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources.

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

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are 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 national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

Quick-thinking Edmonton student saves mother’s life

The pills her doctor prescribed didn’t relieve the pain and on Oct. 18, 2002, while driving her 15-year-old son Steve home from a doctor’s appointment, she knew something was really wrong. Sylvia, who had driven the route hundreds of times before, could not remember the how to get home.

“Steve had to help me get back on the right roads,” she says. “All the way home it was like this.”

Back at home, Steve recounted the bizarre drive to his father, Wayne, who was just about to leave for his overnight shift at Canada Post. “I told him that she seemed easily confused and very distracted,” he says.

Wayne offered to take his wife to the doctor, but Sylvia said she would go in the morning if her headache still persisted. Wayne headed off to work.

“I remember going to bed,” says Sylvia. “That was it.”

At 4 a.m. Steve was awakened by a noise from his parents’ bedroom. He looked in their room and saw that his mother wasn’t in her bed. After searching the house and finding no sign of her, he went back to the bedroom. This time, he saw her – lying on the floor.

“She had fallen off the bed. That’s why I couldn’t see her from the doorway,” says Steve.

Sylvia had gone into a seizure. Steve, who had recently completed the ACT High School CPR Program at Edmonton’s M.E. Lazerte High School, knew what to do.

“I tried to get her attention by touching her and saying her name,” he says. “She was entirely unresponsive, so I called 911.”

He gave the operator his address and stayed on the line, asking if he should put her in the recovery position. He then went downstairs and unlocked all doors so the paramedics could easily get in. He credits the ACT Program for knowing these steps, as well as for his quick, focused response.

“The program helped me react more calmly,” says Steve.

The paramedics arrived and took over. A team of firefighters also responded to the call. One of them commended him for his actions.

“He told me I did the right thing,” says Steve.

Sylvia was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton where tests confirmed she had a lump on her brain the size of a golf ball. She was immediately scheduled for surgery, and was sent home the day before. “They sent me home just in case, so I could be with my family,” says Sylvia, who still cherishes that time.

On Oct. 29, the day of her husband’s birthday, Sylvia underwent surgery. The operation was a success and she was sent home five days later.

Sylvia says she will be forever grateful to her son. “My doctor told me if I had been in the seizure for another 30 minutes to an hour I would have died,” says Sylvia, who now has a newfound appreciation for life and everyone in it.

Sylvia, her husband, family and friends were, and still are so proud of the way Steve handled and took care of the situation.

After several years of subsequent tests she is happy to report that in November 2006 she was given a clean bill of health.

Still, Steve says he’ll never forget just how close he came to losing his mother. “You always think something like this won’t happen to you or your family. Something like that makes you appreciate them more,” he says.

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at M.E. Lazerte High School thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Community partners in Edmonton are the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton, the Edmonton Community Lottery Board, and Bowes Publishers Limited. Provincial partners of the program Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).

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

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are 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 national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

Teen saves niece from choking

Her one-year-old niece, Taylor, was choking.

She ran downstairs to the kitchen where the infant sat in her high chair. She wasn’t moving and was starting to turn red.

Kaydie’s sister, Meigan, had just fed her daughter and was having breakfast with their mother, Shelley, when the infant began making a strange noise.

“It was like she was trying to gag herself,” says Shelley of that day in 2007. “You could tell that she was struggling.”

A student at Calgary’s Centennial High School, Kaydie had learned the airway obstruction manoeuvre and CPR through the ACT High School CPR Program.

She knew exactly what to do.

“I noticed she had too much food in her mouth,” says Kaydie. “I took some out with my finger. She still wasn’t moving so I picked her up.”

She then performed the airway obstruction manoeuvre on Taylor. The infant coughed up more food, but Kaydie knew her job wasn’t done. She gave two breaths, then checked to see if she was breathing.

She was.

The Grade 11 student knows what she did was critical. “If I hadn’t done anything, there’s a good chance she might have continued to choke and maybe died,” she says.

Her mother says seeing Kaydie spring into action made her realize how important the ACT High School CPR Program is. “I cannot emphasize enough how good of an idea it is that all schools have this program,” she says.

Kaydie has this advice for other students: “Take this training seriously. Even though I’m just 17, I can still help.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in Kaydie’s school thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Community partners in Calgary are the Kiwanis Clubs of Calgary (Chinook, Northmount, Metro, Downtown, and Foothills), while provincial partners of the program are Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).

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

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are 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 national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

Alberta teacher helps when woman collapses

Twenty-five-year-old Naomi had a heart condition known to her family. On this day in November 2005, she says she felt “young and healthy”.

Sheldon, a high school teacher at Andrew High School stood in shock as a woman and man began to administer two-person CPR. But when someone suddenly yelled for more help, the emergency skills Sheldon learned a month earlier through the ACT Foundation’s Teacher Training Workshop kicked in and he helped the other rescuers.

Naomi was still unconscious when the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital. “My heart had stopped beating for ten minutes. If Sheldon and the others had not been there, I might not have survived,” says Naomi. “We have a different kind of relationship now.”

At the hospital, the young mother of two received an internal cardiac defibrillator and now takes regular medication. She says she feels fine and is able to live a normal life.

Now when Sheldon teaches the lifesaving skills to his high school students he can tell them firsthand why it’s important. “I used it. You never know when you’ll need to use the skills,” says Sheldon. ”It’s invaluable.”

Naomi says she hopes her story can help show students that heart problems can affect people of every age. She says that signs of her condition can start showing at puberty, so she hopes the ACT Program will help bring awareness to students who might themselves suffer from a heart condition, or know someone who does.

Sheldon says he now fully understands the ACT Foundation’s mission to establish the CPR program in every Canadian high school. “All schools should have this program, it should be mandatory,” he says.

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at Andrew High School thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Community partners are the Tegler Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Edmonton and the Kiwanis Club of Sherwood Park, while provincial partners of the program are Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).

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

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are 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 national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

Edmonton student saves best friend’s life

Having just completed the CPR course in her physical education class, Katelynn sprung into action, performing the Heimlich Manoeuvre. It didn’t work at first, Katelynn says, so she tried a different position and all of a sudden a green JubeJube shot straight out of Erikka’s mouth and landed on the floor in front of them.

“Since this happened, I just give her (Katelynn) lots and lots of hugs and thank her constantly for saving my life and I tell her I would save her life, too, if she were to ever need me! I tell everyone that taking a first aid course is essential because it teaches us how to save lives. It really does work!” Erikka says.

Katelynn adds, “It makes me feel much more confident and smarter knowing I can save a life. I know that I can actually put my training to use in an emergency, whether it’s to save the life of a family member, a friend or someone out in the community.”

Bubbling over with enthusiasm, Erikka says, “There are so many areas in my life where I can use my first aid training. For example, I’m an athlete and I play lots of different sports. Things can happen on the field or at an athletic event, where my training could make a big difference and all of us babysit, which means you never know when you will be called upon in the case of an emergency. I am really glad I’ve had this training because I can use it again and again!”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in Katelynn’s school thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. The community partner is the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton, while provincial partners of the program are Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).

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

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are 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 national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

Alberta student saves neighbour’s life with CPR

Having learned CPR in his Grade 10 physical education class in Coleman, Alberta, Mike rushed to his next-door neighbour’s aid.

“Mike didn’t panic. Instead he remembered exactly what to do,” explains teacher Ritch, who taught Mike CPR at Crowsnest Consolidated High School. As Mike began CPR, his lifeless neighbour responded to the effort.

“It didn’t hit me until after, on the way to (the hospital),” said Mike on reacting to the developing emergency. “I didn’t think about anything except trying to help him. Everything just clicked into place.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible at Crowsnest Consolidated High School thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Provincial partners of the program are Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).

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

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are 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 national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

Student stops to assist unconscious man

The 16-year-old says he didn’t have to think twice about stopping that night in 2005 – he knew he had to help.

“I was nervous and surprised,” says Oren. “I just couldn’t leave him there. I had to do something.”

Luckily, the skills he learned through the ACT High School CPR Program came back to him. “I didn’t really think about what I was doing. It all came naturally.”

Oren approached the man. When he realized he was unconscious he immediately called 9-1-1 – one of the first steps in ACT’s lifesaving program. He stayed by the man’s side while waiting for the ambulance and talked to him as he regained consciousness. When the man started to move, Oren ran back to his car and grabbed an emergency blanket to keep him warm.

Luckily, the man survived. But Oren knows that if he hadn’t been there to act, the outcome could have been much different. “If I hadn’t stopped, he could have frozen to death,” he says. “I feel like I really did something – I feel proud that I did it. It’s pretty incredible to be able to change someone’s life.”

Oren had taken the ACT High School CPR Program just a month earlier at Kitscoty Junior/Senior High School. Until this life-changing incident, he says he thought he would never have to put his skills into action.
“The program helped make me more aware of what’s happening around me,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to use what I had learned in class. I was wrong.”

Brian, Oren’s Grade 10 teacher says he’s happy to know that the students are absorbing what they’re being taught in class. “You don’t have to convince me of the importance of CPR,” he says. “This is a bonus for me, knowing that it is being applied.”

As for Oren, he credits the ACT High School CPR Program with preparing him how to react.
“The program was very useful because – without a doubt – I wouldn’t have known what to do other than call 9-1-1,” he says.

“If someone was wondering whether or not they should take the program, I would say go for it.”

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. Over 1 million youth have been trained in CPR through this lifesaving program to date.