Written by Shannon Chamizo
My name is Shannon Chamizo, I am a You’re The Cure advocate and a survivor. My sons and I became involved with the American Heart Association after I survived both cardiac arrest and a heart attack before I was even 40. If you would like to read more about my experience click here.
I survived these two events in large part because of the heroic actions of my teenaged sons, Avery and Alston. Since then, my family has used those experiences to make healthy lifestyle improvements and to add formal lifesaving skills to their knowledge.
After having those health issues, American Heart Association Hawaii Division Board Member and American Medical Response (AMR) Training Director Dory Clisham (also a You’re the Cure advocate) took me under her wing and got both my sons and me certified in the use of CPR, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and First Aid using American Heart Association training (AMR is an American Heart Association certified training center). After completing that training in July, 2013, Dory also asked me if I might be interested in further training, and I responded yes.
This year on May 22, I completed American Heart Association Healthcare Provider and Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor training and am now certified to train other professionals.
In addition, I have assisted at a community training event at Kaimuki High School for the Junior ROTC students by sharing our family story. It was inspiring to see how our story added to the motivation that the students had to learn lifesaving skills.
My family and I want to continue to participate in community training events to help others learn. My younger son, Avery, is also interested in becoming not only an instructor, but also pursuing a career as a firefighter after graduating from high school next year.
We also want to help the AHA in its efforts to work with the Hawaii Department of Education and Board of Education to add CPR as a mandatory part of high school health curriculum. Since health is a required course, adding simple and quick ‘hands-only’ CPR training to those classes would insure that every new Hawaii high school graduate would possess the skills to save the life of a friend or loved one who experiences health problems like I had.