Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Erika Yee—A Hero Goes For Gold

A special message from Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of meeting high school senior Erika Yee when I returned to my home state of Arizona to attend the Girls and Women of Distinction Celebration with the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona council. During the celebration, I was honored to present Erika with a Lifesaving Achievement award for her heroic act that saved the life of one of her fellow students at University High School in Tucson, Arizona.

On October 15, 2012, Erika, a Tucson native, was at band practice when her band mate Chris Miller suddenly collapsed. Erika had recently learned a technique known as Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR as a Girl Scout Junior at her local Girl Scout camp, Camp Fury. According to research, Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR is about twice as effective as traditional CPR in resuscitating patients who suffer sudden cardiac arrest.

Responding with the courage, confidence, and character emblematic of a Girl Scout, Erika took charge of the situation, administering Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR to Chris until paramedics arrived on the scene. Today Chris is alive and well, and both he and the medics credit Erika’s quick thinking and swift action with saving his life.

Erika turned her incredible story into her Girl Scout Gold Award project, working in conjunction with the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center to provide Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR training to high school students throughout Tucson. She also produced a short video about her experience, highlighting how easy this technique is to administer in an emergency.

At Girl Scouts, every day we create leaders like Erika—courageous young women with the tenacity and the determination to make our world a better place. Thanks to Erika and the skills she learned as a Girl Scout, a young man’s life was saved. Erika takes her place in a long line of incredible Girl Scouts who are serving as role models for their peers and for generations of girls to come, and our Movement is so incredibly proud of her.