The following is a piece written by one of our cardiac arrest interns. I am awfully proud of the excellent work these people have accomplished.
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Families have gathered to share food, laughs and create memories. As we reflected over the things that we have to be thankful for, I couldn’t help but to give thanks for something that superseded any material or object I could own. I am thankful for life. You see, I was raised in a small city in southwest Georgia and grew up surrounded by poverty. I was surrounded by family who couldn’t afford health care, many of whom were grossly uninformed about the health disparities that plague our community. As I give thanks this season, I continue to brainstorm ways that I can give back. As an aspiring physician with several years of school and training left, how do I help save lives in the meantime? Interning with Start The Heart Foundation has served as a conduit through which I can reach individuals who might never have gotten the opportunity to learn about cardiac arrest and CPR. Coincidently, many of my family members fall into this category. I had the opportunity to travel back to Georgia for the Thanksgiving holiday, and what better opportunity to teach a hands-only CPR class than to a large gathering of my family? After everyone ate, I set the living room up as I usually set up for classes. As everyone sat around me, I couldn’t help but to think how thankful I was to be able to teach such an important skill to the people I love. My father especially felt the importance of learning hands-only CPR. As a track and field coach, he saw the importance of his athletes learning CPR, so I scheduled to teach his team before I left Georgia. It is a misconception that athletes don’t have cardiac arrests, and I wanted to make sure I made that clear. When asked if anyone had ever learned CPR or heard of cardiac arrest, many of them said no. Whether we as interns realize it or not, we really are impacting the lives of everyone we come in contact with. We’ve taught well over 4,000 individuals CPR. We are essentially teaching individuals how to give life, and that is something to be thankful for!
Alexandria Lanise Oliver
University of Louisville