Tessa Lucas, right, and Wyatt Lucas demonstrate CPR techniques on a mannequin.

Tessa Lucas, right, and Wyatt Lucas demonstrate CPR techniques on a mannequin.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

Siblings aim to save lives with CPR

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 8, 2019


TROY — Would you know what to do before help arrived if someone suffered cardiac arrest?

Tessa Lucas, 18, and Wyatt Lucas, 16, are leading an initiative to ensure that you do.

The teens discovered that the percentage of people in Michigan who are trained in CPR is lower than the national average. Their mother, Gail Lucas, works in the health care field.

The Troy siblings take online classes through the Michigan Connections Academy.

They will bring $10 CPR classes to the area with the help of sponsorship dollars from individuals and the community.

Tessa explained that the usual cost of a quality, four-hour American Heart Association Heartsaver AED CPR course ranges from $65 to $90. AED stands for automated external defibrillator, a device used to analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock in the event of a heart attack.

She believes a lot of people want to learn the skill and would put the time in if the price was right.

“It’s a good deal,” she said. “Our goal is that 200 people sign up.”

They hope that sponsors will help out if they meet that goal.

Current sponsors include Alliance Mobile Health, Rotary Club of Troy, Troy fire stations 2 and 3, The Choice Group, the HealthMarkets insurance company, MacLeish Building, Twin Pines Landscaping and Medright Inc. “Others have given a verbal yes,” Wyatt said.

“People don’t think they are going to need it,” said Tessa. However, “88% of cardiac arrests happen at home. You’re more likely to do it on a family member than a stranger.”

“We want to make a difference,” Wyatt said.

The siblings noted that students in the Troy School District have a chance to learn CPR through the schools.

“Now the push is to bring CPR training opportunities to cities through the HeartSafe Community program,” Tessa said. The public health initiative is intended to help more people survive a sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to heartsafe-community.org.

Kerry Birmingham, the director of communications and strategic initiatives for the Troy School District, explained that Troy School District students gain CPR certification through health classes in the ninth grade.

“All of the middle and high schools received a Michigan Heartsafe School award/designation last year due to our work with having an AED emergency plan, running AED emergency drills and having an AED emergency team,” she said in an email.

Cindy Stewart, the director of community relations for the city of Troy, said the city is exploring ways to become a Heartsafe Community. “It’s an amazing family,” she said of the Lucas family. “We’re so fortunate to have young people so driven to make a better community.”

Anyone over age 12 is welcome to attend the classes for $10. The classes will run 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 15 and 29, July 13 and 27, and Aug. 10 and 24 at Medright Inc., 850 Stephenson Highway, Suite 510, in Troy.

Register at signupgenius.com/go/10C084CABA92CA75-cprsaves.

For more information, email wyattwilliamlucas@aol.com.