Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in Canada, with more than 35,000 people dying of sudden cardiac arrest each year. The large majority of cardiac arrest deaths occur in homes and public places, and up to 55% are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend.

The 2022 McGill World Restart a Heart (WRAH) Campaign seeks to encourage bystanders to take immediate action by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). By performing bystander CPR and using an AED in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival triples.

Implemented four years ago as part of a larger global initiative, the McGill student-led branch of this campaign is Canada’s largest sudden cardiac arrest awareness initiative and continues to grow and attain new heights.  This year’s campaign reached over a quarter of a million individuals during the month of October through an engaging series of virtual and in-person events and a compelling social media campaign.

Here are some of the highlights.

  • Over 450 visitors learned about AEDs and safely practiced hands-on bystander CPR on simulated manikins at educational booths set up at the McGill downtown and Outaouais campuses as well as at Université de Sherbrooke.
  • Close to 6,000 McGill students were educated on the importance of bystander CPR and AED through in-class visits by WRAH volunteers to 20 classroom and through informational materials distributed by professors to their students.
  • Two virtual events featuring cardiac arrest survivors and healthcare professionals were viewed by over 425 attendees and are available to watch here
  • An engaging series of 90 original posts, stories and videos were shared on the WRAH Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, resulting in over 20,500 impressions.
  • The McGill WRAH campaign was shared with members of the McGill community via publications and newsletters to reach over 230,000 readers.
  • An engaging Box for WRAH fundraising event brought together 15 participants and raised $400 to benefit the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Congratulations to the WRAH team for organizing an outstanding initiative!

Dr. Farhan Bhanji, Vice-Dean, Education, FMHS and Chair of the WRAH Steering Committee, with Sophie Labelle, Resuscitation Program Manager, Quality Assurance and Engagement from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
CPR booth at the downtown McGill campus
Simulated feedback manikins allowed participants to see if they were performing chest compressions at the optimal speed and depth.
McGill WRAH volunteers at Campus Outaouais Left to right: Dr. Ugo Desjardins, Andrée-Ann Béchard, Daniel Josué Guerra and Jacob Nicodemo
Université de Sherbrooke CPR booth
Quebec Liberal Party MNAs Jennifer Maccarone and Gregory Kelley visited the WRAH booth and practiced CPR
WRAH presentations in the McGill classrooms
Box for WRAH fundraising event