NJ Resident Is Thankful For CPR

by Laurie Heavener

I have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my family, my friends and most importantly, the fact that I’m alive today to enjoy them. In 2008, at the age of 49, I collapsed on the side of the road suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. A high school sophomore saved my life by acting fast and starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which he had learned in school just weeks prior.

So this year I’m especially thankful to Senator Diane Allen, Senator Joseph Vitale and Assemblyman Angel Fuentes for sponsoring a law supported by the American Heart Association that would call for all students who attend public school to learn CPR and the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) as a high school graduation requirement.

According to the American Heart Association, over 300,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest outside of the hospital each year. Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander

By understanding the mechanics of CPR and how to push down on a chest during a crisis situation as well as how to handle an AED, we are preparing future generations to handle the unthinkable. I hope that all our legislators see the value and pass this bill into law.

This is truly a lesson that can one day save a life. A life, like mine.

Laurie Heavener is a resident of Stanhope and an American Heart Association volunteer.

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