"I have been an educator for 18 years of my life. I love everything about being on the school campus -- the young energy, the boundless learning and the knowing that every single day, I have the opportunity to change someone's life forever," said Julie Johnson of Des Moines, Iowa. "But there is one day that I will never forget -- it changed my life and career forever."
Six months ago, Julie was in the teachers' break room enjoying her lunch when one of her co-workers collapsed. Julie and the other six teachers in the room were at a complete loss. They had no idea what happened -- and no idea what to do.
"I can still see it so vividly. She just lay there. Her body was shaking, she wasn't breathing, and we couldn't find a pulse," Julie said.
"We didn't know if she was choking on something, having a heart attack, or if she tripped and hit her head."
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Julie's co-worker was having a heart attack. Her heart had stopped beating and she stopped breathing. She was losing vital seconds.
"There was this moment when we all looked at each other like we were expecting someone to know what to do, but none of us did. It was such a helpless feeling," Julie said.
After they called 911, the group of co-workers could do nothing but sit and wait.
"It was the longest eight minutes of my life," recalled Julie.
Unfortunately, for Julie's co-worker, it was eight minutes too long and she didn't make it. Forty-three years old ... massive heart attack ... just not right. One will never know, but maybe, just maybe, CPR could have saved her life. If anyone in the group knew how to start chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, he or she might have been able to buy a few minutes until the ambulance arrived.
It was such on overwhelming experience for Julie that she left her job in front of the classroom to spend her time training teachers and school administrators on the importance of being prepared for circumstances like she experienced. Julie is now the director of health and prevention for an entire county and travels the country to school conferences to share her message.
"I will never let that happen again to me or anyone else. I am
100 percent committed to making sure that educators know this basic lifesaving tool," said Julie. As I travel around the country and talk to groups of people, I am amazed at how few people can raise their hand because they know CPR."
No matter your profession, every single person in the world is usually around somebody throughout their day -- co-workers, schoolmates, friends, family members or even strangers. You never know when you might need to save somebody's life, but everyone can definitely imagine how it would feel to not be able to help. CPR matters.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
1. Learn the basics of CPR.
2. Find a place near you that teaches CPR, or arrange for a certified CPR instructor to come to your school or workplace.
3. Sign up for a class with a family member, a friend, or even your kids.
4. Learn CPR. It takes only a few hours.
5. Post CPR guidelines in a kitchen cupboard, your office, your car and anywhere else you frequent. These guidelines may come in handy during emergency situations. Tell people around you that the guidelines are there in case they need to perform CPR.
What if you could have saved a life had you known CPR? What if you needed help and no one around you could help you? Take a few hours today to learn this lifesaving skill. It can change your life -- and someone else's life -- forever.
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