A group of Grade 11 students at Montreal’s St. George’s School was the first to receive mandatory training in CPR and automated external defibrillators (AED) on April 18, two years after a classmate collapsed on the school’s baseball court.
“We felt this was an opportunity to teach every kid that they could make a difference and save someone’s life,” said Gary Silverman, who set up the Robert Sibthorpe and Benjamin Silverman First Responders Fund.
The fund comes after Silverman’s son, Benjamin, had a cardiac arrest during a semifinal baseball game two years ago. Another parent, Robert Sibthorpe, rapidly performed CPR on Benjamin and managed to bring him back to consciousness.
“It was the biggest relief ever; it was unbelievable,” said Sibthorpe, recalling how he felt when the student awoke.
“It happens in an instant, and you need to recognize when it’s there.”
According to experts, during a cardiac episode, the chances of survival reduce by 10 per cent with every minute that CPR is delayed.
This new fund will ensure that all St. George’s students receive CPR and AED training by the time they graduate.
“I feel like I can give back what I got,” said Silverman’s son, Benjamin, on April 18.