American Heart Association

Frisco ISD Student-Hero Meets Girl Who Inspired Her CPR Training

The Frisco Independent School District has been teaching hands-only CPR to sixth graders since 2012 -- and recently students had the chance to meet the girl who inspired the implementation of the district's program.

Aerin Thomas's class at Cobb Middle School went through the CPR training just weeks prior to a real-life scenario that almost cost the life Aerin's father.

"We thought it was the last time that we were going to see my dad," said Aerin.

Joel Thomas stopped breathing while at their Frisco home in April and Aerin said she immediately jumped into action.

"There's this beat. It's to 'I'm staying alive.' That's what we did in PE," said Aerin.

"We played the music and you do all the checklist. You have the right beat and you have to stay calm when you do it," she added.

Her quick action saved her father's life.

"I don't think kids ever think that they'll have to use it, but I'm glad we learned it," said Aerin. "I'm just glad it turned out how it did."

The school district began including hands-on CPR training in PE classes for sixth graders in 2012, even before the American Heart Association fought for legislation that now requires CPR training for high school graduation.

Last week, Aerin and her classmates met the person who was behind the district's bold move.

In 2011, Kylee Shea, a then sixth grader at Maus Middle School, collapsed in the hallway because of a cardiac event.

School staff used CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to bring her back to life.

"They had to shock me twice with the AED before I woke up," Kylee told the sixth graders last week.

"I think it's amazing that it helped save someone's dad and that she learned how to do that because of my story," Kylee said of Aerin, who now has her own story that may one day save more lives.

"Anything can happen, you don't know," said Aerin.

"I feel like sometimes, it doesn't seem real to them, but when you can bring in Aerin and she can share her story, and when you bring in Kylee to share her story, it really brings the message home that life is precious and life is fragile," said Frisco ISD Coach Jared Young.

For resources on CPR, visit the American Heart Association.

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