They have traveled to Albany to meet with legislators; they held a CPR Rally at the Capitol; they have written letters to the editor; they have given countless media interviews; they have tweeted and they have phoned.
Today, after learning that Gov. Cuomo has signed the CPR in Schools bill, six women who lost children to sudden cardiac arrest are optimistic that the New York will join the 19 other states that ensure students learn CPR before graduation.
“My daughter Emily was 14 when she took her last breath in my arms," saidAnnette Adamczak of Akron, who, on Sunday, orchestrated a CPR Flash Mob on the fields near where her daughter collapsed. "Governor Cuomo has used his heart in signing this bill, and done his part to make sure all New York students are trained in CPR. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would give my hands the knowledge that could have saved a life - my child's life."
"Five years later I still wonder why? With so many people there that that night why isn't Dominic here?” said Melinda Murray of Queens, whose son Dominic died of sudden cardiac arrest when he was 17. “The answer is clear. No one knew what to do right away. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for ensuring our next generation knows what to do in the precious minutes it takes to save a life.”
The signed bill now goes to the state Commissioner of Education, who has 180 days to recommend to the Board of Regents that they include CPR and AED instruction in the curriculum. The Regents have 60 days to act after the commissioner’s report.
“My son Louis never had a chance at survival,” said Karen Acompora of Northport, whose son was 14 when he died of sudden cardiac arrest. Acompora was instrumental in passing Louis’ Law, which requires that an AED be on-site in public places where large amounts of people gather. Since that law went into effect in 2002, more than 80 lives have been saved.
“I applaud Gov. Cuomo for signing the CPR in Schools bill, and bringing the state of New York closer to creating a generation of life savers,” Acompora said. “He honors Louis and the other children whose lives were cut short by signing this bill. We are almost there. Now it is up to the State Education Department to do the right thing.”
“My son was 16 when he died of an enlarged heart,” said Audrey Linguanti of Spring Valley. “Since then I have been working hard to pass the CPR in schools bill, in his memory. Governor Cuomo’s signature on this bill is a good step toward saving so many lives – like Vincent wanted to when he joined the local fire department. Thank you, Governor.”
“The pain we have over losing our children never ends,” said Suzy McCarthy of Evans, whose daughter Madison was 5 when sudden cardiac arrest stole her life. “Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for realizing that time is critical – let’s get the students of New York trained so that we can save, not lose, lives.”
“We will miss Robbie all of our lives,” said Jill Levine of Merrick, whose son was 9 when he died. “It has taken us years to get to this point. Thank you to Gov. Cuomo for signing the CPR in Schools bill. I hope the State Education Department quickly finalizes recommendations to ensure students learn CPR. It is within their power to prevent more senseless deaths in New York.”
“Governor Cuomo’s signature on this bill has the potential to make New York a safer state for all,” said Dan Moran, chair of the New York State Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. “Most of the 424,000 sudden cardiac arrest deaths that happen each year happen in the home. Having CPR performed doubles or triples the chances of survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. All of us applaud Gov. Cuomo for signing this bill, and hope that the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Regents take the steps that will empower our students by teaching them Hands-Only CPR.”
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Governor for recognizing the life-saving potential of this legislation,” said Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, who authored and sponsored the bill (A9298). “This legislation will help ensure more New Yorkers are prepared to perform CPR and by equipping our kids with this knowledge, we can prevent unnecessary deaths.”
Weisenberg was also the sponsor of Louis’ Law.
“Most people are surprised to learn CPR isn’t taught to our kids before they graduate,” said state Sen. Mark Grisanti, sponsor of the bill in the Senate (S7096). “Teaching CPR is just common sense. Schools prepare students with essential life skills, and CPR skills will make our communities safer, year after year. I’m proud to have sponsored the CPR in Schools bill. Nineteen other states have a CPR in Schools law. Let’s get New York in the top 20.”
“One training session, one class period could mean the difference in a life,” said Adamczak. “One life may not seem like much, but to that person’s family, it is the world.”