LITTLE CHUTE (NBC 26) — During some home basketball games at Little Chute High School, spectators take in more than a match-up. They're greeted first by a sight that causes mixed reactions.
"They look at us, stare at us, think we're kind of weird at first," chuckled Gracie Thiel. "We're like, 'No, come join us. This is fun.'"
Thiel is the president of Little Chute CPR, or LCCPR as members call it. The group has 30 members who are students at Little Chute Career Pathways Academy. They were trained by the American Heart Association and the school's athletic trainer, ThedaCare's Abby Kaufman, on how to perform hands-only CPR. Their goal is to teach as many peers and community members as possible how to save life when someone goes into cardiac arrest.
"Hands-only CPR is just an easier, less stressful way for people to do CPR. They don't have to worry about doing the mouth portion of CPR," explained LCCPR member Megan Wegand.
"You just have to find the center of the chest and push hard and fast at a beat of 100 beats per minute until help arrives," added Kaufman.
The students are now taking their new skill, and with mannequins donated by ThedaCare, they're able to show others how to save a life.
"Right now, Wisconsin I believe only has about a 10% survivability rate when it comes to cardiac arrest, and hands-only CPR can really help to increase those survivability rates, especially in rural communities where it might take a lot longer for EMS to arrive," said Kaufman.
The group also holds sessions inside businesses, such as Kimberly Clark.
In the past year, they've trained about 350 people how to react in an emergency.
Kaufman said, "When you teach people hands-only CPR, they are much, much more likely to step up and try to help, because unfortunately a lot of times people are afraid that they might do the wrong thing, so they don't help."
For the students, working with the group and one-on-one with others helps to grow their own skill set.
"The leadership of this, communicating with people, and then just the idea of teaching something that's so impactful," said Thiel.
The students said nothing beats the feeling of sharing a technique that could save a loved one, or even stranger, when every second counts.
"It feels good just to know that if it were to happen, I would be able to save somebody's life," said Wegand. "It makes me feel good about myself."
Thiel added, "I feel like it humbles me a little bit and makes me realize the difference that I can have on the world."
The group said the positive response from the community is also what motivates them to continue the hands-only CPR training sessions. For some students, it may even help shape their future by having them consider a career in health care.
If you'd like to learn hands-only CPR, the students are holding another training session this Friday, January 24th, before the boys basketball game at Little Chute High School. You can also reach out to them if you'd like to schedule a session at your business or event.