Actor, director of CPR training video share personal connections to heart health

Recently, ECC produced a new Hands-Only CPR training video. In it, two siblings grapple with the suggestions of their lovingly overbearing mother. But when practicing Hands-Only CPR, it’s the kids who end up teaching the mom. The story behind the actors is a fascinating one.

When taking on roles, actors often ask themselves, “What’s my motivation?” For those who made “Mama Knows Best,” the answer was simple: to save lives.

AHA trainer Deb Haile works with actor Roberto Morean on the proper hand positioning for CPR.


Roberto Morean plays the son, Tomas. In his own family, two grandparents have high blood pressure and several family members have high cholesterol. Morean became dedicated to promoting health when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014. Some chemotherapy drugs, he learned, can damage the heart. “During chemo, they put a lot of emphasis on my heart to make sure it stayed strong,” said the 21-year-old. “It puts a lot into perspective.”

Morean’s cancer is now in remission. It helped him realize at a younger age than most that few things are as important as health. “I’ve been a big advocate for healthy lifestyles and raising money for organizations,” he said. “Doing something for the American Heart Association is just another way to be an advocate.”

During rehearsals, Morean for the first time learned how to perform CPR. “We spent lots of time filming me giving the dummy CPR,” he said. “And I thought, ‘This is crazy,’ because this is what a lot of people will watch to learn how to do CPR and save lives themselves.”

The opportunity to teach people about CPR meant a lot to Morean, and he hopes people who see it can make a difference. “Using art forms for purposes like this is important,” he said. “It helps people remember for when they need it most.”

The father of the video’s director, Fernando Vallejo, died suddenly from a heart attack when Vallejo was 32. “I guess we all take our heartbeats for granted,” he said. “We breathe, we walk, we live — until something goes tragically wrong.” For Vallejo, raising awareness about heart disease and CPR isn’t something he takes lightly. “It’s a matter of life and death,” he said.