Pamela Rauseo’s five-month-old nephew Sebastian de la Cruz suddenly stopped breathing in the backseat of her car last February. Rauseo, who had learned infant resuscitation after her son Alex stopped breathing seven years ago, was able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on her nephew and save his life.
Her story, which was captured by major media outlets, helped stress the importance of CPR said Ines Hernandez, the regional director of communications for the American Red Cross. In hopes of bringing some of this awareness to the local community, the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Jackson Health System and the University of Miami all partnered to host CPR Day Miami, an all-day CPR training event. The event was held at seven locations, including the Bank United Center (BUC) on Saturday, Sept. 6.
“Today is an initiative that we are taking to communicate to the public the importance and the impact that an hour of training can have on a loved one,” said Rauseo who attended the BUC site. “Take the time, even if it’s not today at this event that is being hosted for the community; just take a moment because you never know when you are going to need CPR.”
Students and general community members gathered at the BUC starting at 8 a.m. First, they were taken to a seminar where they watched a ten-minute video on the importance of CPR and general CPR procedures. From there, they were led to an open room set up with stations for hands on dummy-training experience. While the hour-long classes did not certify each participant, it offered participants the opportunity to be prepared in case of an emergency.
Nursing students, such as graduate student Herald Preciado, were present to help run the training sessions. Preciado taught emergency CPR which involved only compressions.
“The whole purpose is that so if we see someone on the street in cardiac arrest, we can go ahead and do compressions, because some compressions are better than no compressions at all,” Preciado said.
Students like junior Neelima Gaddipati participated in CPR Day because they are interested in becoming physicians. Gaddipati used this as a stepping stone to be certified.
Graduate student Chelsea Verduin came to be recertified because she works at the Wellness Center and needs the certification for safety reasons. Aside from professional reasons,
Verduin explained that, in addition to her position on the Wellness Center staff, she has a personal connection to CPR.
“I was choking before on chicken and waffles, and it was bad. I blacked out,” Verdiun said. “My friend was trying to do the Heimlich, which is also very important, but she was too small; and my guy friend stepped in and saved my life. It’s near and dear to my heart that people know how to do this kind of thing.”
President Donna E. Shalala dropped in to greet the students and community members during the event. Free items were handed out to participants, and even Sebastian stopped by to learn how to perform CPR. While proper certification was not awarded, participants had the opportunity to see the important role CPR can play.
For more information on CPR or to find out about getting certified, check out these links:
or find out about taking a CPR class at the Patti and Herbert Wellness Center at