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Lincoln's 'Heart Hero' Inspires School CPR Lessons

Lincoln's 'Heart Hero' Inspires School CPR Lessons
Posted on 02/11/2015
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Each year, Lincoln Middle School participates in Hoops For Heart, a physical activity-focused education and fundraising event co-sponsored by the American Heart Association. And this year, the school has a “Heart Hero” for the event, 13-year-old Meghan Dadiego, a Lincoln Middle School eighth-grader who collapsed in September from sudden cardiac arrest at a dance studio and survived because her instructor knew CPR.

So this year, as part of the Lincoln Middle School event on Thursday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb. 13, students will be taught how to do “sidewalk CPR” by volunteers from the University of New England. The idea behind “sidewalk CPR,” the American Heart Association says, is that “CPR is easy to learn and perform, and anyone can do it.” The association also believes that the more people who know CPR, the better.

Meghan’s big sister, Heather Dadiego, a former Lincoln Middle School student, now 23 and employed by UNE, has arranged with a colleague to offer the “sidewalk CPR” instruction for Meghan’s fellow students. That’s because Heather Dadiego says the intervention by Meghan’s dance instructor saved her life when Meghan collapsed at the Westbrook dance studio.

“If not for the immediate response of her dance instructor, Danielle Drouin, who performed CPR on Meghan until the paramedics arrived, Meghan would not be with us today,” Heather Dadiego wrote on a “Heart Hero” poster that she created for the Hoops for Heart event.

“Learning CPR at this event seemed like the perfect fit,” Heather said.

“The school participates in Hoops for Heart to raise money for the American Heart Association and this year more than ever they are able to really connect to the fundraiser they are doing,” she said. “Meghan is their peer and it puts everything a little more into perspective.”

Heather Dadiego said Meghan’s experience illustrates “how common sudden cardiac arrest is and how drastically greater someone's chances of survival are when a bystander knows CPR, and even more when there is an AED (automated external defibrillator) available. Awareness is everything in this matter because the reality is that sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone, young or old, and anyone can save a life, young or old. You can learn and perform CPR without being ‘certified’ and save a life.”

Meghan today has a defibrillator implanted under her collarbone, takes medication to control her heart rate and is back dancing. “The strength and courage that Meghan walks with every day is to be admired. She is our Hero!” the poster says.

Denise Pressier, Lincoln’s physical education teacher, said that Hoops for Heart, Jump Rope for Heart and Hula Hoop for Heart all have featured as an annual fundraiser held at Lincoln over the past 12 years. “I do it during my PE classes to bring awareness to students about heart health and also to raise money for the American Heart Association's fight against heart disease,” Pressier said.

The event dates are Thursday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb. 13, from  8:15 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. during regularly scheduled physical education classes combined with health classes.

For more information, contact Denise Pressier at 207-874-8145 or at preisd@portlandschools.org.