Basketball coach saves student with CPR and an AED

Zachary, ‘Zach’ as his friends call him, is an energetic Grade 10 student who loves sports, having played competitive hockey and basketball over the years. “No signs of any heart issues EVER in his life,” says Zach’s Mom Stephanie.

However, on October 28 at an after-school basketball tryout – his heart stopped.

“Everything was going well, with students practicing skill drills, and then I asked them to split into playing 5 on 5 games,” recalls teacher and Coach Mike, the OFSAA Boys’ Representative, NCSSAA Convenor, and Boys’ Basketball Coach at St. Mother Teresa High School.

It had been almost two years into the pandemic at that point. Coach Mike hardly knew many of these ‘new’ faces, even more so with their wearing COVID masks while playing basketball.

“I was adding names to my team shortlist when I saw a student come off the court hunched over, says Coach Mike. “It was Zach, and he was gasping for air. At first, I thought it was just the mask and exertion and I told him to take a few minutes on the side while I turned my attention across the gym.”

Suddenly Zach collapsed face-first on the floor sending an echoing thud across the gym that made Mike immediately turn to his aid.

“My instincts kicked in. It was the (ACT) training” says Mike.

“I asked my Assistant Coach, Yvan, to call 911 and clear students out of the gym,” says Mike. “I assessed Zach and started CPR.”

“Coach told me to get the defibrillator right away” recalls Zach’s friend Malacki.

“I ran fast, my friend’s life depended on it. I gave the AED to Coach. He put the pads on Zach and followed the instructions. He knew what to do,” adds Malacki.

In the gym, paramedics took over to revive Zach, continuing to use the school’s AED that had been donated by the ACT Foundation.

“I can tell you as a mom, receiving the phone call was nothing short of traumatic. But to hear over and over in the days that followed from paramedics, ER physicians, and the team of cardiologists, that had the coach not responded so quickly performing CPR and using the AED,  Zach would not be with us today,” says Stephanie. “We are very, very thankful that Coach Mike knew CPR, and that the school had an AED and the Coach was trained in how to use it.  That is what made the difference for Zach.”

Zach underwent open-heart surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to fix a previously unknown heart defect he has had since birth. Making a full recovery, Zach returned to school in February.

“High schools definitely need to teach CPR,” says Zach. “Most people think that only older people get heart attacks, but look at me, I am living proof that it can happen to anyone. It’s also important to have an AED to make schools safer.”

In the days following Zach’s rescue, Coach Mike suggested that a second AED be installed closer to the gym. The ACT Foundation is working with Zach’s family to help make that donation happen. His mother Stephanie thinks it should be mandated to have an AED in all high schools, especially with all the sports activities. “I would strongly encourage all schools to get one, get an AED now. Do it,” she says. “Because you don’t know until you need one.”

Upon returning to school it was hard for Zach, who had to sit on the sidelines to cheer his teammates. Thanks to the quick lifesaving actions of those around him that night at the try-out, he is able to resume his place on the court with a thumbs up from his health team. Zach is grateful for every precious new day he has ahead. He looks forward to playing sports and driving having successfully acquired another milestone, his license.

ACT RESCUE VIDEO: Zach’s Story

The ACT Foundation set up the High School CPR and AED Program at St. Mother Teresa High School in 1998 for CPR and in 2009 for AED. With the support of community partners, an AED was donated to St. Mother Teresa and Ottawa high schools in 2009.

ACT’s Ontario provincial partner is Hydro One and ACT’s National Health Partners are AstraZeneca Canada, and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the award-winning, national charitable organization establishing free CPR and defibrillator 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. More than 4.8 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

Teacher saves a stranger with CPR

An ironic chain of events led to an unusual rescue story for Marcia, a high school teacher in Kingston. It began on a winter evening when Marcia was out for dinner. “I noticed an elderly couple having a lively chat over a glass of wine. I was struck by their delightful chemistry, so much so that I paid them compliments on a paper napkin, and anonymously paid for their dinner,” says Marcia.

A few months later, Marcia’s father-in-law tragically passed away from sudden cardiac arrest. No citizen CPR was available for him. Before leaving to meet her husband to help with funeral arrangements, Marcia called her dad, asking him to join her for dinner. At the restaurant, the same as previous, by coincidence, the same elderly couple was again having dinner. However, this time, there was a commotion and Marcia quickly realized the gentleman had collapsed and needed help.
She ran to the man’s side as a server was calling 9-1-1 and people were gathered around.

Marcia is trained in CPR by the ACT High School CPR and AED Program and has taught her students the same lifesaving skills she was about to use herself. “Three of us actually stepped in,” says Marcia. “Another woman checked to see if he was breathing. When we realized he wasn’t (and in cardiac arrest), I started doing chest compressions while another person gave breaths”. Marcia also sent someone to look for an AED but there wasn’t one available.

When EMS arrived, they asked Marcia to continue CPR while they quickly went to work with more lifesaving procedures. The man regained consciousness and was transported to the hospital.
The day after returning to work subsequent to her father-in-laws funeral, a colleague of Marcia’s convinced her to seek out the man whose life she had helped save with CPR. “I went to the hospital that evening and met his daughter and wife and was deeply moved,” she recalls. They were also able to share the irony of meeting again after having Marcia purchase them dinner simply because “they were the cutest couple ever” a few months earlier.

Marcia urges everyone to learn CPR. “Anyone can do it,” she says. “The CPR act itself isn’t complicated, but its impact can be profound.”
Although the man passed away a few weeks later, the family was profoundly grateful to have had the time to spend last moments with their father and husband and say their goodbyes.
The ACT Foundation set up the High School CPR and AED Program in Regiopolis Notre Dame Catholic High School where Marcia works as a teacher. ACT’s provincial partners are the Government of Ontario and Hydro One and ACT’s national health partners are AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the award-winning, national charitable organization establishing free CPR and defibrillator 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. ACT is honoured to be recognized by the Governor General of Canada with the Meritorious Service Cross presented to ACT’s Executive Director Sandra Clarke, and Medical Director and emergency physician Dr Justin Maloney in relation to the ACT High School CPR Program. More than 3.9 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

School staff saves life during volleyball tournament

One evening in March, Karen and Tom were playing in a volley-ball tournament at Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton.

“We were in the middle of a game when a man ran in asking if anyone was a doctor,” recalls Tom. “I told him I knew CPR and rushed to the other gym with Karen.”

Upon their arrival, Karen and Tom saw a man collapsed on the floor. Many people were gathered around him. “They thought he had a seizure,” says Karen.

While one of the players dialled 911, the two vice principals checked the man’s vital signs. “He was unconscious and gasping for breath,” says Tom. Immediately, he started CPR while Karen counted the compressions to help him with the pace.

Darlene, high school physical education department head, was in the fitness centre overlooking the gym when she saw the scene. Immediately she ran to get the school’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Upon Darlene’s arrival, Karen rushed to the front of the school to guide the paramedics to the gym.

Promptly, Darlene and Tom placed the AED pads on the man and delivered a shock as per the instructions of the machine. Tom continued compressions while Darlene provided artificial respiration before administering a second shock.

Karen returned with the paramedics who took over and transported the man to the hospital.

“I was definitely shaken up right after the incident,” recalls Karen. “It taught me that the most important thing is educating everyone in what to do when a situation like this occurs,” she adds.

Darlene agrees with her. “When we teach CPR to our students, we empower them with the confidence to recognize the emergency and start that chain of help.”

“I would love to see more people trained in CPR,” says Tom. “Having more people out there able to save a life, you can’t put a price on that.”

The ACT High School CPR and AED Program was set up in the Peel Region with the help of ACT’s lead community partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Amgen Canada, and Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd., provincial partners, the Government of Ontario and Hydro One, health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada, and many community partners.

Community partners are: BASF Canada Inc., Bayer, Brampton Village Lions Club, EllisDon Corporation, Enersource Corporation, Flower City Kiwanis, Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Kiwanis Club of Mississauga South, Loblaws Companies Ltd., Mississauga Central Lions Club, Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club, Mississauga Erin Mills Lions Club, Optimist Club of Brampton, Rotary Club of Bolton, Rotary Club of Bramalea, Rotary Club of Brampton, Rotary Club of Mississauga, Rotary Club of Mississauga Credit Valley AM, Streetsville Lions Club, Takeda Canada Inc. and TransCanada.

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.

Youth saves stranger’s life days before Christmas

On a snowy December afternoon, Lane and his wife Jessica were on their way to a coffee shop for a business meeting. “I had just pushed my car out of a snow bank,” recalls Lane.

The next thing he remembers is seeing oncoming traffic on the busy street and moments later he collapsed, unconscious on the side of the road.

When Jessica realized that her husband had gone into sudden cardiac arrest, she panicked and screamed out: “Does anyone know CPR?”

That is when Dylan, a 19-year-old student who was waiting at the bus stop, rushed over to Lane’s side.

“I saw a man on the ground, his face was blue,” remembers Dylan.

While Jessica dialled 911, Dylan pulled Lane off the road with the help of other bystanders. Immediately, he started CPR, a skill he had learned in school.

“At the hospital they told me he was in a stable condition,” says Dylan. “His wife hugged me and thanked me for saving her husband’s life.”

“When I woke up at the hospital, my wife told me a young man named Dylan saved my life with CPR,” says Lane.

Dylan’s foster mother, Lois, couldn’t be prouder of her son. “He came home that day drenched in sweat. He said to me ‘Mom I think I saved a man. I think I saved him,’ ” she shares.

“I never thought I’d have to use CPR in my life,” shares Dylan. “Yet that day a man died and I brought him back to life,” he adds.

Lane’s rescue occurred the day of his daughter’s sixth birthday. He was able to resume his normal activities within a matter of days and to celebrate Christmas with his family.

“Their eight-year-old daughter wrote me a letter which is framed in my room,” says Dylan. “In the letter she says: ‘Dear Dylan, I know you think you aren’t a hero, but you are one to me. I know you work in a restaurant as a cook. My dad taught me how to cook. “
Lane’s wife agrees with her daughter. “My life would have been completely different now if it wasn’t for Dylan,” she says. “He saved a father and a husband.”

The ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Training Program was set up in Bluevale Collegiate Institute in partnership with lead community partner, Kitchener-Waterloo Emergency Medical Services , provincial partners, the Government of Ontario and Hydro One, and health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the 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.

Teacher saves child’s life

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.

Special needs youth saves his mother from choking in Toronto

On a warm summer afternoon, Ms. Chandler was preparing a barbecue for her family, while her children played outside. She went to the kitchen to toast bruschetta to go with the meal. Taking a few bites of the baguette, she found herself unable to breathe. “I started chocking. I actually had visions of my whole life passing before my eyes,” she shares about that frightening experience.

In no time, her older son, Matthew, walked into the kitchen. “It’s okay mom, I know what to do,” Matthew exclaimed. With two strong abdominal thrusts, the obstruction flew out. “I’ve never felt so relieved in my whole life,” she recalls. Matthew’s calm energy was much needed to soothe his mother’s fear as he instructed her to sit down and offered her a glass of water. “I was relieved, I thought I was going to lose my mom,” shares Matthew.

Matthew, who is autistic, has learned how to perform the abdominal thrusts through the ACT CPR program in the Marshall McLuhan High School. “I have been taught by Miss. Fitzpatrick how to help someone who is choking. I remembered what to do and I helped my mom. It’s easy to remember and to do,” tells Matthew.

Ms. Fitzpatrick, who was Matthew’s phys-ed teacher says “Having the ACT CPR program in schools is extremely important because it ensures that every single young person across the province gets the same opportunity to learn crucial life saving skills.”
“I am proud because I know that he could go anywhere and help if ever someone is in trouble,” says Ms. Chandler of her son.

The ACT High School CPR program was set up in Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School in 2012 and every year 240 students, like Matthew, learn lifesaving skills. This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of our community partner, Kiwanis Club of Toronto, our provincial partners, Government of Ontario and Hydro One, and our national health partners, Astra Zeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the award-winning, national charitable organization establishing free CPR and defibrillator 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.

Teacher saves best friend during soccer match

One evening in February, Bruno almost skipped the weekly soccer game he plays with his friends. At the last minute, however, he decided to go. “We play indoor soccer, always the same group. It’s a good way to get some exercise,” says Bruno. “We were all on the field having fun when the goalie shouted ‘Joe’s down!’ I looked over and saw him on the ground.”

Bruno ran up to Joe and found him unresponsive and not breathing. While some of the guys called 911, Bruno started CPR. “I started doing chest compressions. I kept pumping on his chest to keep the oxygen flowing through his body.” “Some of the guys did not react, not because they did not want to, but because they did not know what to do,” tells Bruno.

Once the paramedics arrived, Bruno continued the chest compressions until they were ready to take over. Joe regained a pulse after defibrillation, before being transported to the hospital. “Several hours later the doctor came up to me at the hospital and said ‘He is alive because of you’,” shares Bruno, who was very emotional.

“Bruno has been a best friend to me for a very long time, but now he’s like a brother,” tells Joe.

Since the incident, the group of friends took a CPR course together. “It was definitely a life-changing event for everybody. Now that everyone is CPR trained, we are more empowered to react if something like this happens again.”

The ACT High school CPR program was set up in 2008 in Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School where Bruno works as a teacher, thanks to the support of community partner, First Ontario Credit Union, our provincial partners, Government of Ontario, Hydro One and Ontario Trillium Foundation and ACT’s national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada and Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the award-winning, national charitable organization establishing free CPR and defibrillator 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. ACT is honoured to be recognized by the Governor General of Canada with the Meritorious Service Cross presented to ACT’s Executive Director Sandra Clarke, and Medical Director and emergency physician Dr Justin Maloney in relation to the ACT High School CPR Program. More than 3.9 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

Teacher saves his toddler’s life

On a beautiful day in spring, Jean-Gilles, a physical education teacher in Sudbury, was getting ready to leave the house. “I was in the driveway when I heard my wife call out my name.”

“Our two-year-old was choking on a hot dog. My wife panicked and then she remembered I’d know what to do and knew I did,” he recalls.

Jean-Gilles rushed in the house and gave his son abdominal thrusts, an act that saved his life. “I remembered the feeling of practicing it with my students and the training just took over. As a parent, it was strange to have to do it on my own son,” he adds.
Every year, Jean-Gilles empowers his students with lifesaving CPR and AED skills as part of the physical education curriculum.

“It’s a life skill. Every kid knows someone who’s affected by heart conditions, or other health problems. If something happens, they’ll be able to act,” he says about the importance of the classes he teaches. “Learning CPR is a no brainer, it’s like learning how to walk,” he emphasizes.

The ACT High School CPR and AED Program was set up in Bishop Alexander Carter Catholic Secondary School in partnership with lead community partner Vale and other community partners, provincial partners, the Government of Ontario, Hydro One, and The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and ACT’s national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the 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 3.2 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

Student learns lifesaving skills and saves his friend the same day

An evening in November, Raphaël and Jean-Philippe met after school at restaurant Mike’s for a get-together with friends. “We started talking about the CPR training we had that day in our phys ed class,” recalls Raphaël.

They were going over the different scenarios together, when suddenly, Jean-Philippe started choking. “J-P can be a bit of a joker, so at first we all thought he was pulling a prank on us,” says Raphaël.

“I wasn’t able to breathe and I felt a pressure in my chest. The people around didn’t realize what was happening.” remembers Jean-Philippe. “I was afraid of what could happen if no one did anything,” he adds.

At that moment, Raphaël jumped in to help his friend. “I noticed that the colour of Jean-Philippe’s skin was changing. I’ve never seen someone so blue in my life,” he says.

Raphaël stood behind his friend and did what he and his friends were talking about just moments before. “I went behind him and I placed my hands right above his navel. I gave him a few strong abdominal thrusts, hoping that what we learned in class really worked,” he recalls.
“Had I not taken my CPR class, I wouldn’t have known what to do,” stresses Raphaël.

“While taking the course, I knew it was important, but I never thought I would be the one needing help,” says Jean-Philippe.

The ACT CPR High School program was implemented in la Polyvalente de La Forêt d’Amos in Quebec in 2015 thanks to the support of the Government of Quebec and health partners, AstraZeneca Canada, Sanofi Canada, Amgen Canada.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing 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 3.2 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.