Fifteen years ago today, 14-year-old Louis Acompora died of sudden cardiac arrest on a lacrosse field.
Today, his mother sent a letter to every member of the New York state Board of Regents asking them to implement CPR in Schools. April 19 will mark 180 days since the CPR in Schools law went to the state Department of Education. By then, State Ed must make a recommendation to the Board of Regents to include Hands-Only CPR instruction in the curriculum.
“Louis was playing in his very first high school lacrosse game,” Acompora said. “We watched proudly on the sidelines. After he blocked a routine shot, we saw Louis collapse. Paramedics arrived almost 15 minutes after Louis collapsed but were too late. Louis went into sudden cardiac arrest and passed away. He was 14 years old.
“It seems unimaginable that my blue-eyed teenage boy would now be 29,” Acompora said. “Since that time, I’ve worked to help spare other families from this type of tragedy. We passed Louis’ Law so that all schools in the state are equipped with AEDs. I’m proud to say at least 86 lives have been saved. And together we passed CPR in Schools legislation and convinced the Governor to sign the bill. It has been a long journey…the final step is approval from the Board of Regents.” It seems unimaginable that my blue-eyed, teenage boy would now be 29-years old. Since that time, I’ve worked with many of you to help spare other families from this type of tragedy. We passed Louis’ Law so that all schools in the state are equipped with AEDs. I’m proud to say at least 86 lives have been saved. And together we passed CPR in Schools legislation and convinced the Governor to sign the bill. It has been a long journey…the final step for CPR in Schools is approval from the Board of Regents.
Today, for Louis’ anniversary, will you join me? Please send a message to the Board of Regents to ask for their support for CPR in Schools.
Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. And everyone deserves a fighting chance. It’s time for New York State to have more lifesavers in the community.
In memory of Louis, please join my family to tell the Board of Regents: It’s time for New York to be CPR smart.
Acompora’s call to action to ask people to contact the Board of Regents is also posted on the American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools facebook page. As of 10 a.m. on Louis’ anniversary, March 25, 7,000 people had viewed it.
“I urge everyone to contact Acting Commissioner Berlin and Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch to tell them how important it is that all high school students learn Hands-Only CPR,” Acompora said.
“Losing Louis was tragic,” said Bob Elling, chair of the New York State Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. “Karen has worked tirelessly to get AEDs into public places, and to get CPR in Schools. CPR is easy to teach and easy to learn. That’s why 21 other states require students to learn this lifesaving skill. It takes just one class period. Surely, New York can do the same,” said Bob Elling, chair of the American Heart Association’s New York State Advocacy Committee. “Sadly, about 9 out of 10 victims of sudden cardiac arrest die. We can change this grim statistic by teaching Hands-Only CPR to students. The cost is negligible, since a YouTube video gives an overview, and a few manikins let students practice the skill. Let’s honor Louis by passing this law.”