American Heart Association applauds Senate passage of CPR in Schools bill

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(June 2014)  In a unanimous vote, the New York Senate passed the CPR in Schools bill.

Sponsor Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, called on his colleagues to honor the memory of Madison McCarthy of Evans, who died at the age of 5 because CPR wasn’t started immediately.

“I want to thank Senator Grisanti for sponsoring this bill, for being part of our CPR Rally at the Capitol last week, and for remembering Madison,” said Suzy McCarthy, Madison’s mother. “A lot of people – including those of us who lost children to sudden cardiac arrest – have worked hard to pass the CPR in Schools bill. We look forward to working with Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to pass the bill in the Assembly.” The CPR in Schools bill is in the Assembly Rules Committee. From there, it goes to a vote in the full Assembly. After Assembly approval, the bill will be sent to the governor for his signature.

An updated version of the CPR in Schools bill (A9298/S7096), sponsored by Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, calls on the Commissioner of the State Education Department and the Board of Regents to determine if CPR and AED instruction should be included in the curriculum for all students prior to graduation.  Last week advocates from throughout the state traveled to Albany to show lawmakers how easy it is to perform CPR.  McCarthy was one of them, and was joined by three other mothers who lost children to sudden cardiac arrest – Karen Acompora of Northport, whose son Louis was 14 when he died; Melinda Murray of Queens, whose son Dominic was 17 when he died; and Annette Adamczak of Akron, whose daughter Emily died at the age of 14.

The volunteers pointed out that CPR is easy and affordable; and 17 other states have already passed laws to teach their students this basic life skill. Hands-Only CPR and the basics of how to use an AED can be taught in as little as one class period at minimal or even no-cost to school districts.

Nearly 424,000 people suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year, and only 10.4% survive. Having CPR performed doubles or triples the chances of survival.

American Heart Association and Volunteers are Overjoyed at CPR in Schools Passage

Across New York, volunteers with the American Heart Association are applauding the state Assembly’s passage today of the CPR in Schools bill.  The bill passed the Senate last week, and now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

“This is a real act of leadership,” said Dan Moran, president of Next-Act in Colonie and chair of the American Heart Association’s New York State Advocacy Committee. “It is a fitting tribute to Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, who sponsored the bill, and is a longtime supporter of CPR in Schools. We all join his colleagues in the Assembly in giving him a standing ovation as he heads into retirement. We were thrilled last week when the Senate passed the bill, and thank Senator Mark Grisanti of Buffalo for sponsoring the bill there. We also applaud Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Senator John Flanagan for their work that will help save lives.”

Melinda Murray of Queens was speechless, and tears were in her eyes when she talked about the bill passage. Murray’s son Dominic died of sudden cardiac arrest when he was 17 years old.

“After eight years of pushing for this bill, I cannot believe it,” Murray said. “This has breathed life into Dominic and all the young lives silenced by sudden cardiac arrest. I’m so overjoyed.”

This past Sunday, June 16, was the fifth anniversary of Emily Rose Adamczak’s death from sudden cardiac arrest. Emily was 14. Emily’s mother, Annette Adamczak of Akron, has lobbied nonstop for the passage of the CPR in Schools bill, and trains high school students in Hands-Only CPR.

Adamczak paused to catch her breath at hearing the news.

“We can dedicate this to all the kids, all the ones we lost, not just Em, and all the ones we hope to train,” she said. “This is nothing that can stop us now.”

“It is a great day for New York. Our children and our families are now safer and many lives, young and old, will be saved,” said Steve Tannenbaum of Merrick, whose life was saved by CPR five years ago when he was 56 years old and playing softball.

The CPR in Schools bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.From there, the Commissioner of the State Education Department has 180 days to recommend to the Board of Regents that CPR in Schools become part of the curriculum.

 

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