Check out this survival story from 14-year-old Brittany Lobs. It is a powerful example of why CPR training as a graduation requirement is such a critical priority for the AHA. -John
As a sophomore in high school, I was nominated to Wichita’s American Heart Association’s Sweetheart program in 2002. At the time, I believed this experience would be an exciting adventure into the world of being a “big girl”. However. at fourteen years old, I could not grasp how this program would truly make me into the woman I am today.
During the year of the Sweetheart program, I attended many very important classes, the most vital to me being CPR training. I had no idea what the true importance of this training would be, until early one morning few weeks after I attended the Saturday afternoon class. I received a surprise no 14-year-old should ever have to have. As I lie asleep in bed at five o’clock in the morning, I was startled by the historical yells of my family upstairs. My feet hit the floor running wondering what was happening; I had no idea what to anticipate when I reached the top of the stairs. There, my youngest brother Bryce lay on the floor, face blue, body seizing then suddenly nothing. My parents looked to me for immediate help knowing I had recently been trained in CPR and they had not been trained. I am still not sure, eight year’s later, how I reacted so calmly and without hesitation but I did and it was natural. I jumped and had to recall what I had learned in my class just a few weeks before.
I worked on my brother as fast as I could, trying desperately to bring color back to his lifeless little fifth-grade football playing face. What seemed like minutes were actually moments as he miraculously began choking and finally gasped for breath. After a ride in an ambulance and five days in pediatric ICU, Bryce was diagnosed with Juvenile Epilepsy; and would find his life as well, as all of ours, would never be the same.
My brother and I built a special bond that night, and we share this story with the American Heart Association and other organization like this to show our gratitude for providing services and education to everyday people like me, in the hopes of encouraging others to take initiative and get certified in vital trainings such as CPR. I am happy to say, eight years later, Bryce has not only grown out of his epilepsy, but is a college football player and I am now perusing a career in nursing due to this unexpected night in our home. I know neither of these things would have ever happened had the night played differently and I did not received the vital CPR training I received.