Renfrew parents spreading CPR word to help save their son's life

Two Renfrew county paramedics are spreading the word about the importance of CPR.

It's a matter of life and death for many people including their 3-year-old son.

They will join thousands of others this Sunday in the annual Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart.

Everywhere that 3-year-old Archer Hackett goes, a portable AED or automated external defibrillator goes with him.

“He could have a sudden cardiac arrest eating cheerios in the morning,” says Sean Hackett, Archer’s father, “or while he's playing.”

Archer was born with a congenital heart condition called Long Q-T syndrome that affects the heart's electrical system.  He was just five weeks old when he first went into cardiac arrest.

“He was dead for about 4 minutes and then we revived him,” Hackett said in May of 2015, when CTV Ottawa first spoke with both Hackett and his wife Roxanne about their son Archer.  Both parents are paramedics with Renfrew County and fortunately knew exactly what to do to revive Archer.  Sean performed CPR while Roxanne got the AED that the hospital had given them and shocked his heart to get it going again. 

Archer has since been fitted with a pacemaker but he will always be at risk of cardiac arrest.  For 3 years, his parents have taken shifts watching him, but, come September, those shifts end.

“He'll be starting school soon which means I’m not going to be there if that were to happen,” says Hackett, “so it's important the people around him know CPR.”

Those "people" include the principal and staff at Archer's school in Renfrew.  They have volunteered their time to learn these life-saving skills.

Megan Robillard is the Principal of Central Public elementary school, “Archer’s safety is a priority but so is everyone else's at school,” she says, “It can happen to anyone and the more people that are trained the better.”

About 5 years ago, Renfrew county paramedics outfitted every school in Renfrew county with an AED.  Central Public school has two of them, one stationed right outside the classroom Archer will attend.

With funds raised through the annual Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart, another 9 AED's have been placed throughout Renfrew County.  Sean and his wife will take part in that Ride in Toronto June 3rd, raising money and raising awareness of the importance of CPR for all the other Archer's out there.

“We know about Archer,” says Hackett, “but 1 in 2000 kids has this condition… and at that point, anybody can step up and do CPR and save their life.”