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Cardiac Arrest Survivor Tells Lawmakers More CPR Training Needed

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DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado legislator wants high school students to learn CPR. Her bill would offer grants for “hands-on” training.

On Tuesday a young woman alive because of CPR testified in favor of the funding. Six years ago, then 17-year-old Lindsay Hayden nearly died when her heart stopped. But thankfully one friend knew how to save her life.

Lindsay Hayden and Cameron Oliver testify at the state Capitol (credit: CBS)

Lindsay Hayden and Cameron Oliver testify at the state Capitol (credit: CBS)

“I’m just so grateful every single day,” Hayden said.

Now 23, Hayden works for the American Heart Association and is an outspoken advocate for CPR education.

“I was in a school and I had CPR performed on me, and only one person in a class of 35 people knew how to do it,” she said.

That person was Cameron Oliver, Hayden’s hero at Standley Lake High School. Oliver saw Hayden collapse.

“She was unresponsive, was not breathing, had no pulse,” Oliver said. “So I immediately began CPR.”

Eight minutes later a school resource officer used the school’s automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart Hayden’s heart.

“Two shocks and here she is with us today,” Oliver said.

The AED was a gift of the family of Dan Lunger, who was just a junior when he died of sudden cardiac arrest. He was Oliver’s best friend.

“I think about him all the time, I miss him a lot,” Oliver said.

Hayden and Oliver shared their story with a legislative committee to support the bill that would fund grants for CPR training in Colorado high schools.

Rep. Dianne Primavera is the House sponsor of the bill.

“We can train about 50,000 students, that’s about how many graduate each year, on a lifesaving technique,” Primavera said.

The bill asks for $300,000.

“If this bill can save one life it’s absolutely 100 percent worth it,” Oliver said.

The bill passed 10 to 3. It now goes to the Appropriations Committee.

The estimate is only about 15 to 20 percent of the population is trained in CPR.

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