CPR Makes You Undead! Zombies help launch Heart and Stroke Foundation's CPR campaign with a starring role in "The Undeading"

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) has launched an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), with an edgy, horror-movie style video that teaches people what to do if someone suffers cardiac arrest.

"The goal of the campaign is to raise public awareness and promote hands-only CPR," said Mark Holland, Director of Health Promotion and Public Affairs, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "In Canada, the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests barely exceeds five percent. We must do better, and we can, if we all learn CPR."

The campaign launched today at Yonge-Dundas Square with The Undeading, a video playing off the popular theme of the "zombie apocalypse."  Directed by Hollywood-Canadian director Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Cube), it stars actress Michelle Nolden (Red, The Time Traveler's Wife and CSI).

"Our video targets youth and young adults aged 15-30, and has been posted on YouTube and social networking sites," added Holland. "Regardless of age, everyone can benefit from the lesson embedded in humour in the video: As zombies covet only the living, they need to move quickly to bring cardiac arrest victims back to life. We all should do the same."

As many as 40,000 cardiac arrests occur in Canada each year, and up to 85 per cent of these happen in public areas or homes. Research shows that key barriers stopping people from performing CPR are lack of CPR training, fear of harming the victim, and failure to understand the consequences of not doing CPR. Communities like Seattle, which has promoted CPR awareness for years, have seen survival rates rise drastically, resulting in hundreds of lives being saved every year.

NHL player Brett MacLean, 23, knows the importance of quick action. The Phoenix Coyotes forward survived after his heart stopped this summer during a friendly hockey game in Owen Sound, his home town.

"My buddies rushed to me and performed CPR. They kept me alive while a local firefighter brought the AED (automated external defibrillator) to shock me back to life," said MacLean. "I can't say enough about the importance of learning what to do when a loved one or even a stranger near you collapses."

The Heart and Stroke Foundation's CPR awareness campaign culminates with a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of people trained in CPR at one time. The event takes place at Canada's Wonderland on Oct. 25 during Wonderland's annual Halloween Haunt. The record to beat is Singapore, which saw 7,909 people trained. Participants can enjoy Halloween Haunt and the park until midnight once the training is complete.

Other campaign components include:

  • A "survivalist" social media campaign with stories, video and pictures driving survivors to the safe zone (Wonderland CPR training) as zombies take over Toronto.
  • The Toronto Zombie Walk on Oct. 20, which has partnered with HSF to make this year's walk all about CPR.
  • Digital advocacy including website, social media and YouTube.
  • CPR training events during CPR Month (November) across Ontario.
  • Municipal advocacy to raise public awareness of the importance of CPR and AED placement.

To view the video and buys tickets for the Guinness World Record event at Wonderland go to: www.theundeading.ca.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation thanks our sponsors and partners for their generous support of CPR Makes You Undead: Laerdal Medical Canada, Space, Agency 59, Alter Ego, Canada's Wonderland, RMW Music, Cartilage Inc., Married to Giants, Touchwood Design, Vibe Dance & Fitness Studio, Toronto Zombie Walk and VIUU Visual Intelligence.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy.

Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.

Image with caption: "The undeading is nigh. (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121004_C4234_PHOTO_EN_18885.jpg

Image with caption: "Zombies take over Yonge-Dundas square for "The Undeading" (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121004_C4234_PHOTO_EN_18939.jpg

Image with caption: "NHL Coyote Phoenix Brett MacLean talks to CTV about surviving cardiac arrest (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121004_C4234_PHOTO_EN_18938.jpg

SOURCE: Heart and Stroke Foundation

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Teresa Roncon cell: 416-937-5357

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