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Heart Attack Survivor Champions A Bill To Teach Students CPR

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 20-year-old Bloomington woman wants to make it mandatory that all high school students learn CPR before they graduate.

Jamie LaLonde is a heart attack survivor.

“I remember getting ready for work, and that’s the last thing I remember,” she said, recalling the day she suffered cardiac arrest. “The rest people have told me about.”

Two years ago LaLonde was working at Forever 21, a clothing store at the Mall of America. She was about to go on break when she collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

She said the people in the store, which caters to young people, didn’t know how to react.

“They were all 16 to 18-years-old, and not one person around me knew what to do when I fell,” LaLonde said.

It took almost 5 minutes before a mall security officer arrived and began CPR. Eventually, paramedics came with an AED and shocked LaLonde twice, saving her life. She spent two days in a coma to prevent brain damage and when she woke up she had a new purpose in life.

Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville) wants to help LaLonde’s cause.

“This would be a huge benefit for our society to have bystanders who are trained in CPR,” he said.

Hall is trying to help LaLonde get her bill passed. Hall says they are asking for middle schoolers and high schoolers to get 30 minutes of training in their six years of school.

“We are asking for 30 minutes of CPR training for any child in Minnesota that goes through seventh grade through twelfth grade,” he said.

Hall says the bill was basically written by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. He says the training would require no money from schools and would be done by volunteers.

“It’s a small thing for a huge benefit,” Hall said.

LaLonde has made a full recovery. And because of what happened, she’s now going to college to become a paramedic. But before she graduates, she wants to see her bill become a law.

“I really think it will make a huge difference, especially among the young people,” she said. “It’s teaching young people how to save people.”

The bill passed both the House and Senate; it’s currently on Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk.

Hall said about 50 percent of Minnesota schools currently require CPR training.

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