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Danielle Wicklund on The Importance of CPR in Schools

CPR training in high schools is the best place to create a generation of lifesavers. Why? Because the majority of sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital and most of these people aren’t close to first responders. This means that they are surrounded by regular people, like you and me. It’s critical that we all know the one skill that could save a life so I want to urge our lawmakers to bring CPR training to Pennsylvania’s high schools by supporting SB 948 and HB 1464. It takes as 30 minutes to train students in this lifesaving skill. 

Did you know that many cardiac arrest victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors? Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. And each year, more than 326,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, but only 10% actually survive. But CPR trained bystanders can double or even triple survival rates for these victims. 

I believe that saving lives is a community effort and I would like to challenge Pennsylvania to join with other states across the country who have all passed laws ensuring that every high school student is CPR trained. Worse yet is that the United States is only ONE of six countries (The others being Norway, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines) to have a CPR graduation requirement. Those statistics are frightening.

We need to do something about this. We need to take action now before it is too late. We needed these CPR classes YESTERDAY. I urge our lawmakers to support SB 948 and HB 1464 and pass CPR training legislation and all individuals to do the same by logging on to and learning how they can get involved. 

I have taken up this issue for my high school senior project because it has personal meaning. Unfortunately, my family and I have suffered the worst tragedy. My Uncle, Avelino Borromeo Lim JR., was a famous Filipino basketball player. As a matter of fact, he was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame. However, that all fell apart just like the Biblical story of Joshua tearing down the walls of Jericho. 

On November 28th, 2014, my Uncle Samboy played at an exhibition game. All of a sudden, he collapsed on the ground. He was having a heart attack. The bystanders rushed him to the nearest hospital, but they did not know what to do. By not performing CPR on him, Uncle Samboy suffered hypoxia, lack of oxygen, to the brain for twenty-three minutes. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the ER. It was a miracle for him to come back to life, but it took him more than forty days to wake up from the coma. On the other hand, that does not mean he recovered instantly afterwards. Uncle Samboy cannot see, speak, or move; he is still fighting for his life. Nonetheless, my family and I will let him know that we will still be there and care for him. After all, he is still Samboy Lim even if he is trapped in a non-functioning body. He will always be my dearest, beloved Uncle Samboy. 

During the past year, I have been writing several essays on my Uncle Samboy, who is, “Larger than life.” My essays have impressed successful attorneys, basketball players, military officers, medical professionals, sports writers, and many more. In fact, a well-known Filipino sports writer, Mr. Quinito Henson, posted one of my stories on The Philippine Star, the equivalent of the USA Today in the Philippines. Because of my efforts and those who loved my Uncle Sam, the Samboy Lim Bill has been successfully initiated into law by the Filipino Congress and House. It would require Filipino students to undergo CPR training before high school graduation. Besides being a legend in Philippine Basketball, this is his most important legacy. The least I can do for my Uncle is to spread awareness of CPR, which hopefully makes some kind of impact on this world. Check out the article!

Also, by teaching Pennsylvania students CPR, you would do a great justice to this world and my Uncle Samboy. If you still have any doubts about my proposal, keep J.K. Rowling’s prominent quote in the back of your mind, “We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

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