Today’s reason to teach CPR in Schools: Emily Adamczak

 American Heart Association’s “So Many Reasons” campaign gives lawmakers a daily reminder of the critical need to learn CPR

 Emily Adamczak was 14 years old when sudden cardiac arrest claimed her life – on a soccer field.

“Parents do not think that sudden cardiac arrest can happen to their child, but it does,” said Annette Adamczak of Akron, New York. “When my daughter, Emily was 14 years young, we were unprepared for the events that transpired that Monday night in June. She was at soccer practice, on town fields. There were no AEDs nearby and CPR was not started in time.  No one thought that sudden cardiac arrest could happen to a healthy athlete, but it did. Emily passed away during her freshman year of high school. We lost out on so many milestones with her; no first boyfriend, no prom, no graduation; precious moments my family will never get back.”

Emily Adamczak is the second of the22 reasons the American Heart Association wants the state Legislature to pass the CPR in Schools bill this year.  On Monday, May 5, with 22 legislative session days remaining, the American Heart Association launched its “So Many Reasons” campaign. Each legislative day, the American Heart Association will share a real story of a New Yorker impacted by sudden cardiac arrest.

“Since 2009, I have trained over 12,000 students in Hands Only CPR at local high schools throughout Western New York, with other instructors, in Emily’s memory, “said Adamczak.  “You never know when sudden cardiac arrest may strike, and by passing this law, we can help train the next generation of lifesavers.  Our children will be given a lifesaving skill that will remain with them throughout their lives.  You teach students how to dial 9-1-1 in kindergarten.  Why not train them in CPR, prior to graduation, when the next step can make a difference in someone’s life?  The life they save may be someone they know.  I hope everyone will support the passing of bill A9298/S7096.  Isn’t one life saved worth your vote?”

Lawmakers will receive a one-page document with a photo of someone saved by CPR, someone lost to sudden cardiac arrest, or someone who lost a loved one to sudden cardiac arrest. A rally is planned for June 3 with the unveiling of a survivors’ gallery and a mass CPR demonstration at the Legislative Office building.

An updated version of the CPR in Schools legislation (A9298/S7096) has recently been introduced by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, and Senator Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo. The bill is currently in the Education Committees in both houses.

“CPR is a lifesaving solution,” said Weisenberg. “As a former police officer, school administrator and lifeguard, I know firsthand that we need bystander CPR to save lives. Many people are alive today because individuals trained in CPR — including youth and adults who received that training in school — gave someone CPR until EMTs arrived. I’m committed to passing the CPR in Schools bill so that we can create a generation in which New Yorkers are prepared to save lives.”

“Schools prepare students with essential life skills, and CPR skills are among the most critical lifesaving skills that make our communities safer, year after year, said Grisanti. “It’s time to add New York to the growing list of states that have passed this legislation. I’m honored to sponsor the CPR schools legislation in the New York State Senate and I am proud to work in partnership with the American Heart Association and families in western New York to help make this bill become a law.”

“Every year, 424,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital,” said Dan Moran, chair of the American Heart Association’s New York State Advocacy Committee. “Would you know what to do if someone collapsed in front of you? Teaching CPR in schools will save lives. When I meet people who were dead, really, with sudden cardiac arrest, and I hear everything they’ve done since being saved, you see that the CPR in Schools bill isn’t just a bill – it’s life.”

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