Cardiopulmonary resuscitation,Cardiac arrest,The Ultimate Gift

Meet Kids Who Gave Their Elders The Ultimate Gift

December 23, 2016
in Kids

The scenes are simple: Steve Griffith playing catch with his son, Lewis. Boris Govzman doing card tricks for his grandsons, Daniel and Jonathan Tyshler. Irene Sample sprinkling wisdom on her great-grandkids, Eunique and Darian Latchison. In so many ways, these adults helped shape the lives of these youngsters. And, in return, these youngsters helped save the lives of these adults. Lewis, Daniel, Jonathan, Eunique and Darian are all 16 or younger, all learned CPR, and all had the presence of mind and composure to use it on someone they love. On Jan. 2, these kids and their families will be bonded by another unique experience. They’ll be among the CPR heroes riding in the 2017 Rose Parade as part of an American Heart Association float sponsored by Union Bank. The AHA float debuted this past New Year’s Day and was such a success that we’re doing it again. In honor of California recently mandating students learn CPR to graduate high school, the theme is “Keep the Beat Alive.” It’s worth noting that a total of 34 states plus the District of Columbia have passed laws or changed their curriculum to making such training a graduation requirement. We look forward to the day when every state teaches CPR in schools because it really does make a difference, as these stories illustrate. Each anecdote is packed with other powerful, beautiful lessons, and all carry the reminder that anyone can be a lifesaver at any time. If you encounter a teen or adult who is not breathing, all you need to do is: On behalf of the American Heart Association, I wish you the happiest of holidays and a healthy 2017. Lewis and Steve Griffith of Forestville, California One scorching hot afternoon in August 2014, Steve Griffith climbed down from his roof, went into the kitchen and told his wife, Elizabeth, he didn’t feel well. They decided to go to the doctor’s office and Steve went to change clothes. He didn’t get far. Steve collapsed in the kitchen, the noise jarring his 13-year-old son Lewis, who was watching TV in the nearby living room. Elizabeth had gone outside, so Lewis ran to tell her what happened and to call 911. The dispatcher told Elizabeth that help was on the way and asked if anyone there could do CPR. “I can do that,” Lewis said. Lewis hadn’t told his parents he’d learned Hands-Only CPR during a health class. He spent about 6 minutes giving compressions until first responders arrived. Steve’s cardiac arrest was triggered by a buildup of plaque in his heart. He was 64, yet also fit and followed a healthy lifestyle. Doctors credit that for how long it took for the problem to manifest. Long enough, it turns out, for Lewis to have attended that health class. “I’m unbelievably fortunate,” Steve said. “I try to hold onto that gratitude and to recognize that Lewis is the main hero and that the entire chain of events went...

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