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(401) 831-7700 x101
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Monday, February 11, 2002
Red Cross To Recognize Local High School Student on Wednesday for Saving Friend's Life Using CPR Skills She Learned in Health Class

Kristen Harper, 17, was watching the New England Patriots playoff game a few weeks ago with some friends when she noticed one member of the group had been in the restroom for an unusually long period in.

When Harper, a senior at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, peeked her head into the bathroom, she found her friend, also a Mt. Hope student, passed out on the floor. Harper, who had learned Red Cross lifesaving skills in a health class just weeks before, immediately began rescue breathing and chest compressions. In between, she ordered another friend to call 9-1-1.

"I just pictured what we learned in class and I could hear my teacher's instructions in my head," Harper explained. "The EMT's told me she would have died if I hadn't performed CPR and rescue breathing."

On Wednesday, February 13, 2002, at 10:30am, the American Red Cross of Rhode Island will present a lifesaving award to Kristen Harper at Mt. Hope High School, 199 Chestnut Street, Bristol. Kristen and her health teacher, Nancy Vorro, will demonstrate Red Cross lifesaving skills and Kristen will share her story with other students.

The friend, Harper explains, hadn't eaten all day and was later diagnosed as anemic. Today, Harper says, she is back at school and doing fine.

"A young woman is alive today, because Kristen Harper paid attention in health class," Mark Francesconi, Director of Health & Safety for the Rhode Island Red Cross said. "You cannot make a stronger case for teaching lifesaving skills in schools."

Francesconi explained that Nancy Vorro is one of 120 teachers trained this year by the Red Cross through a grant with the State Department of Education. He said the Red Cross is working to expand the program so that every school in Rhode Island has a teacher who can instruct in CPR and First Aid.

Note: Legislation has been introduced this year in Rhode Island that would require CPR and AED training in all public high schools (see S2276)

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