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Full court press for compressions

Colonie boys affected by CPR part of effort to teach method in schools

On Tuesday, April 16, Casey Stashenko, 14, and Joey Mendrick, 12, advocated for lawmakers at the Capitol to pass a bill requiring mandatory CPR training for high school students.

On Tuesday, April 16, Casey Stashenko, 14, and Joey Mendrick, 12, advocated for lawmakers at the Capitol to pass a bill requiring mandatory CPR training for high school students. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— Two Colonie boys learned about the power of CPR the hard way, and now they’re advocating that it becomes mandatory for their peers to learn the life-saving method.

Joey Mendrick, 12, and Casey Stashenko, 14, stood before the Legislative Office Building in Albany on Tuesday, April 16, and urged state lawmakers to pass the “CPR in Schools” bill. They were joined by members of the American Heart Association, state officials, other survivors of cardiac arrest and parents who had lost children to cardiac arrest.

The bill calls for every high school student in the state to learn CPR before graduation. Sponsored by Long Island lawmakers Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, and Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick, the legislation was passed in the Senate last year but did not see a vote in the Assembly.

“Every child is a potential lifesaver through this simple and inexpensive instruction. The entities opposed to this bill need to rethink their priorities,” Weisenberg said at the event. “You can’t get a better ‘thank you’ than to see a person who isn’t breathing, breathe.”

For Stashenko, his father may not be alive today if it weren’t for CPR. While his father was suffering from a heart attack in May 2012, Stashenko watched as his mother began performing CPR and realized she was doing it incorrectly. The Sand Creek Middle School student had learned the Hands-Only CPR method in school and immediately started using that technique on his father.

“CPR was easy to learn in the classroom, and I used that teaching a few months later to save my father’s life,” Stashenko said.

Mendrick, on the other hand, was struck in the chest by a baseball during a Little League game on April 16, 2012. After going into cardiac arrest, Brian Curran, an adult on the field, performed CPR and saved his life. The American Heart Association celebrated his new “birthday” at the event with cupcakes.

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