Thirteen year old Gwyneth Griffin died after suffering a cardiac arrest at school, and her parents and others have been working ever since to make sure Virginia has a growing population of citizens trained to respond to a cardiac emergency.
Sudden cardiac arrest is exactly like it sounds. It's abrupt and halting, and it all happens in a matter of a few, sudden seconds. The heart stops beating. Blood stops circulating. Oxygen stops flowing to the brain. The victim stops breathing. Citizens trained in CPR at school have saved lives by knowing what to do during those precious few minutes after someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest. They have saved brothers and sisters, parents and others - including complete strangers.
Thankfully, Virginia can now be added to the list of states whose schools will be training students in CPR and who will be ready to save lives if the time comes.
These bills - named for 13-year old Gwyneth Griffin, who died in July 2012 after suffering a cardiac arrest at school - will require all high school students in Virginia to be trained in CPR before they graduate, beginning with the freshman class of 2016, and they will also require all teachers in Virginia to be trained in this life-saving skill as a condition of their licensure.
Gwyneth's parents, Joel and Jennifer Griffin, worked side-by-side with AHA staff to advance this legislation, and our team was honored to help them create a legacy for Gwyneth and do what we could to help prevent other parents from suffering the same tragedy.
Thanks to Gwyneth's Law, Virginia will add approximately 80,000 CPR trained rescuers in the Commonwealth every year.
Special thanks to our You’re the Cure advocates and our legislative champions Del. Mark Dudenhefer and Sen. Richard Stuart for their strong leadership.