When Manny Medina was 16, he didn’t know or care much about emergency cardiovascular care as he walked into a CPR class at his high school in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“But then I pulled out the (defibrillator) pads and all of a sudden I felt like I was on TV on an episode of ER … I felt empowered to go into the medical field and help people,” said Medina, who’s now 31. “It turns out that one class changed the path of my entire life.”
Now a CPR instructor and teacher trainer based in San Diego, Medina volunteers for American Heart Association, both as a teacher and a community spokesperson. “CPR training has always been very close to my heart,’’ he said. “I really want to help people, especially young people, make a difference.”
From June 1 – 7, the AHA celebrates National CPR and AED Awareness Week, an annual event designed to promote CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) education and save lives. More than 350,000 people have cardiac arrests out-of-hospital every year in the U.S., but only 46 percent of them get the immediate help they need before professional help arrives. CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, especially if it’s performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest.