How would you react in an emergency? Would you know what to do? Science student Sara Canini had her emergency response training put to the ultimate test when she awoke one night to the sounds of her father's girlfriend having a severe asthma attack.
The incident itself took place on April 26 in the early hours of the morning while Sara, her father and his girlfriend were spending the night at a hotel after attending a wedding. When Sara awoke in the middle of the night, she could hear her father trying to help his girlfriend as she struggled to breathe.
He shouted out to me to call 911, but as he did I saw that his girlfriend had fallen unconscious. I immediately jumped out of bed, rushed into the bathroom and my dad went to call 911. When I checked, it was very clear she was not breathing. I started doing CPR and soon enough a hotel employee was there to help with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Within a few minutes she had begun to breathe on her own again, and shortly after that the paramedics arrived.”
Sara, a second year Biomedical Sciences student and former member of the Warriors varsity rugby team, also works as a Head Instructor Guard in Kitchener, where she acquired her CPR training. Prior to that night, Sara had never performed CPR in a real-life emergency situation.
That day was my first time having to do CPR, and honestly I had a moment of "this is actually happening, and I have to do this for real." It is scary to have someone's life literally in your hands, but your training just takes over.”
Sara was previously featured on 570 News' Above and Beyond segment, featuring members of the Kitchener-Waterloo community who are nominated for doing extraordinary things. Reflecting on the experience, Sara is grateful to have had her CPR training.
My dad's girlfriend is doing well now, and that makes me extremely happy. It is definitely a very good feeling knowing I've helped save a life, and it has made me very glad to be CPR trained.”
Written by Carla Rodrigo. Story originally featured on the UWaterlooLife Blog.