HEIGHTS, WEST SIDE STORY Cast Members Learn New Hands-Only CPR 6/3

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Knowing CPR can save a life. It's as simple as that. That's why Latino cast members from Broadway's "In the Heights" and "West Side Story" are joining the American Heart Association (AHA) for The Heartbeat of Broadway, a special event to learn the new Hands-Only(TM) CPR. The bilingual training session will take place on stage at the historic Richard Rodgers Theater, 226 W. 46th St, New York City, on Thursday, June 3 at 1:30 pm. The event is part of National CPR Awareness Week (www.CPRWeek.org) and the AHA's challenge to have 1 million people learn about CPR between June 1-7.

Sudden cardiac arrest claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year and less than a third of victims receive bystander CPR. Getting help within the first few minutes is the key to survival, as 92 percent of people who have cardiac arrest outside the hospital die. Nearly half of heart-related deaths among Latinos are from cardiac arrest.

"Being heart healthy is vital for any live performer and especially for Latinos," says Tony Award® nominee Olga Merediz of "In the Heights." George Akram, who plays "Bernardo" in "West Side Story", adds, "We want our community to understand the importance of knowing CPR and how to save a life."

Hands-Only(TM) CPR is a potentially life-saving option for people not trained in conventional CPR or unsure of their ability to perform the necessary steps, including mouth-to-mouth breathing. Hands-Only(TM) involves two easy steps: Call 911 and push hard and fast on the chest's center. Compressions are given at 100 beats per minute and participants at The Heartbeat of Broadway training will practice to Broadway songs at that tempo.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, we're the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers -- we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (English) 1-888-474-VIVE (Spanish) or visit americanheart.org.

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