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Valley Catholic students urge legislators to make CPR a graduation requirement

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - An Luu, 14, expalins the basics of hands-only CPR at Washington Square on Feb. 15. All Valley Catholic Middle School students learn CPR and then teach the skill to members of the community.  In the Oregon State Capitol, the American Heart Association will be advocating that all Oregonians should be trained in how to save the life of a loved one or stranger.

Schools are an excellent place to start because they are a gateway to an entire generation that will be able to respond when they witness someone in their community or home experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Support for a bill in 2015 to make hands-only CPR a graduation requirement for Oregon high school students is growing.

“We know that every 25 seconds someone has a heart attack and every 39 seconds someone dies of a heart attack,” said Lanette Trickey, executive director of the American Heart Association in Oregon. “Sadly, most people, almost 90 percent, who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location, die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene.

“But given right away, hands-only CPR can double or even triple a person’s chance for survival.”

On Thursday, volunteers including nurses, physicians, survivors and emergency responders will meet with their state representatives as part of the association’s “You’re the Cure” grassroots network and will share their personal stories to help shape policy that will impact future generations.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Duyck will be speaking about the vast potential for equipping future generations with the lifesaving skill of hands-only CPR.

Students from Beaverton’s Valley Catholic Middle School and South Salem High School will attend to help train attendees in the life-saving skill of CPR. Both schools have been working with the AHA to train their peers, family and friends. Additionally, cardiac arrest survivor Raoul Meekcoms will share his powerful story of being saved by his wife with bystander CPR.

“Some students in Oregon are already enthusiastically getting trained in CPR and taking their knowledge to their family and friends, but we could be doing so much more,” said Sarah Higginbotham, government relations director for the American Heart Association in Oregon. “Teaching students CPR develops real-world skills and responsibility — and in less time than it takes to watch a TV sitcom. Just imagine: We could bring more than 45,000 trained lifesavers to our community every year.”

State Sen. Mark Hass of Beaverton and chairman of the Senate Committee on Education is also scheduled to speak to advocates, schedule permitting. Hass sponsored CPR legislation in 2013 that would have helped train tens of thousands of students.

Oregonians can join the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure Network by signing up at

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