WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport’s Emergency Medical Service received eight CPR training mannequins Tuesday thanks to an initiative created by a Staples High School sophomore whose life was saved by CPR and Westport EMS.
Harrison Malec, a rower with Saugatuck Rowing Club, was 14 when his heart stopped during a team practice last Sept. 14. Immediately after Harrison fell to the ground, one of his teammates started CPR and continued until Westport EMS arrived 4½ minutes later. The emergency responders used an AED (automatic external defibrillator) to restart Harrison’s heart.
Harrison was later diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect, and two weeks after the incident he had open heart surgery.
The experience inspired Harrison to organize Harrison’s Heart events, which raise funds for Westport EMS and awareness about the importance of CPR training.
“September 14 was the luckiest day for me because everything went exactly right, immediately after everything went wrong, and I'm alive,” Harrison wrote in a letter explaining Harrison's Heart. “My hope is, if more of us become trained and aware of what to do in an emergency, someone else will have a lucky day and survive too.”
The CPR dolls donated to Westport EMS were purchased with money raised during a Harrison’s Heart event held in June at the Westport William Raveis office. During the fundraiser, 40 employees received emergency, CPR and AED training from Westport EMS.
This was the second Harrison’s Heart event. The first was held at Saugatuck Rowing Club in March.
Westport residents and town employees can receive free CPR/AED training from Westport EMS. For more information about classes, visit the Westport EMS website or call 203-341-6030.