Laura Metro knows what fear in a helicopter feels like.
In 2011, her 3-year-old son, Clay, fell victim to a near-drowning accident in a public pool in Bethany Beach, Del. A bystander who had only seen CPR on TV started trying to revive him until the paramedics arrived. Metro rode with her son for 30 minutes in a medivac helicopter to a hospital in Wilmington where Clay was treated.
That terrifying flight, she says, "was the beginning of a much greater journey."
Luckily, after being in a coma for two days, Clay made a full recovery. Today he is a rambunctious and charming 8 year old. His doctors suggest that the immediate CPR, even if performed improperly, was key in preventing permanent brain injury.
In the aftermath, Metro has questioned how it was that as a responsible parent, she didn't know CPR. "I've been obsessed by that question ever since," she says. An experienced PR and communications professional working the Washington D.C. area, she decided to look for an answer by helping others become aware of how important it is to know CPR basics. "No one wants to be a helpless bystander," she says. "That's why we started CPR Party in 2012."
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CPR Party, as the name suggests, promotes and helps organize parties where 10 or more attendees learn CPR basics in a friendly, personal and upbeat environment. Although it does not provide CPR certification, instruction at the parties is conducted by instructor trainers from Rescue One, one of the Mid-Atlantic's largest emergency and safety training organizations.
To date, Metro reports the parties have provided training for more than 1,000 people across a handful of states, including Maryland, Virginia, California, Nebraska and Minnesota.
Metro is a passionate and articulate safety advocate bent on enlisting like-minds from a variety of camps, not only from the public at large and other safety organizations, but also the government, insurance companies, healthcare providers and the pool and spa industry. She flatly rejects the factional conflicts that have plagued drowning prevention efforts in years past and instead focuses on shared interests.
"When you study drowning and near-drowning statistics from a numbers standpoint, it's staggering the cost, an estimated $6.2 billion annually and that doesn't begin to account for the ongoing cost to families both financial and emotional," she says. "We all need to realize that everyone has something to gain by taking this tragedy head on. It's in our shared interest to work together."
Now committed full-time to the effort, Metro is energetically determined to make CPR Parties commonplace everywhere. "I just don't want any other parent to ever have to take that helicopter ride."
Learn more: For more information visit www.thecprparty.org