You’re the Cure Advocate Ann Thompson knows the heartbreak of losing a child. Her son, Adam, had a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 16. Ann shares her tragic experience to encourage others to learn CPR. Earlier this month, Ann testified before the SD legislature to encourage CPR as a high school graduation requirement.
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On May 23, 2012, our seemingly healthy 16-year-old son, Adam, died of a sudden cardiac arrest at home taking a nap. He had no warning; the first symptom was death. The only thing that might have saved his life was an automated external defibrillator, a medical device designed to deliver an electric shock to the heart if needed. Sadly, none was available.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest in youth is not a rare occurrence. It is happening to thousands of youth each year — on the football field, on the soccer field, in the classroom and in their sleep. It is critical that our community recognizes the importance of having AEDs available everywhere that children congregate; that we encourage CPR/AED training and have an emergency action plan in place should someone collapse because of SCA.
When a child has a sudden cardiac arrest, there is a critical 3- to 5-minute window for that child to be saved. Know the cardiac chain of survival:
Early recognition of SCA, which may include any of the following: collapsed and unresponsive, gasping, gurgling, seizure-like activity.
- Early access to 9-1-1.
- Begin CPR immediately.
- Retrieve and begin use of an AED immediately.
- Early advanced care from first responders.
As parents who have lost a child, we urge you to learn more. It is our responsibility as a community to shed light on SCA in youth and save lives.
Ann and Troy Thompson