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Importance of CPR Stressed During 'American Heart Month'

BATTLEFIELD, Mo. -- February is American Heart Month, and American heart Association representatives are making a push to get more local families trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.
BATTLEFIELD, Mo. -- February is American Heart Month, and American Heart Association representatives are making a push to get more local families trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

The group is working to make CPR training a common requirement in high schools across the state.

Jeremy and Jenny Mhire, of Battlefield, are CPR training advocates -- since they know the importance of basic life support skills all too well.

"In between compressions and breaths, I was just trying to frantically wave for anyone to stop and help us," Jeremy recalled about the April 2008 day when he had to perform CPR on Jenny.

An episode of cardiac arrest left Jenny lifeless in the back of their car alongside Interstate 44. It happened when they're son, Vincent, was just an infant.

"I just really started crying out to God. I was like, 'Please help me,'" Jeremy said. "It was really chaotic, but there was also a peace and stillness to doing what needed to be done."

More Information: American Heart Association's Website

The couple, who met in junior high school, learned later that Jenny suffered from Long QT Syndrome, a rare irregular heartbeat that can cause deadly cardiac events. Aside from a fainting spell that she thought was caused by the stress of being a new mom at the time, Jenny had no knowledge of her condition.

"I've been active my whole life. We don't even have any history of heart conditions," she said. "I don't even know how he could've done what he did, you know, to his wife. He's amazing."

Jeremy studied sports medicine at Missouri State, so CPR training was required coursework, but he thinks it's a good idea for everyone to learn basic life support skills.

"That will keep them alive. The time I had to do CPR on Jenny, until the time that an AED and ambulance arrived, that was probably a good three to five minutes. That's a long time to have your heart not ticking on its own," he said.

The Mhires say knowing can lead not only to a life-saving moment, but many more moments to be shared thereafter.

"It's awesome to see Vincent, our son, get to an age where he kind of understands what happened to mommy, and I see the appreciation her has for her being here," Jeremy said. 

"Just to be able to be here today and enjoy the family and be thankful for the things that we have," Jenny said.

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