Sun Peaks students complete CPR and AED training after incident

James Cannon and Tyler Dickson saved a classmate’s life in the fall. Photo SPIN

Last summer 15-year-old James Cannon worked as a sailing coach and completed the required first aid training, including learning how to do CPR.

Last fall 17-year-old Tyler Dickson decided to join Canadian Ski Patrol to volunteer at Sun Peaks in the winter. In September he completed his training on basic life support and CPR and the next week he learned how to use an AED.

“I thought I was just going to use it for patrol,” he said.

But just two months later on Nov. 18 Dickson did use his training, and saved a life alongside his classmate and friend Cannon.

Dickson and Cannon had travelled to Vancouver with Sun Peaks Secondary Academy students and chaperones to attend WE Day.

After spending the afternoon exploring the city the group returned to the hotel and decided to take advantage of the pool. Cannon and Dickson left the sauna and went to the pool when they realized a classmate was struggling.

“There were a few of us in the pool and we saw a student struggling,” said Cannon. “There was a moment of ‘stop messing around’ but then reality set in.”

They pulled the teen, who SPIN will keep anonymous, out of the water and began CPR while a chaperone called for help.

Soon a security guard arrived to help the duo continue performing CPR until the ambulance arrived.

“When they arrived I thought ‘it’s about time,’” Dickson said.

“After the paramedics took over I stood there with Tyler and our legs were shaking, we could step back and see it from the outside. Reality hits,” Cannon said.

The student was taken to hospital for further care and is now back skiing.

“It’s difficult to find the right words to adequately express how we feel,” his parents wrote in a statement to SPIN. “Tyler and James are our heros! We are so thankful that because of their courage, compassion and willingness to act quickly our son’s life was saved.

“His medical team were also all amazed to learn of the age of these young heroes and commented on what an amazing job they did.”

Cannon and Dickson have also returned to ‘normal’ life with the realization the training they both completed can save lives.

“I think it’s really important. We were able to do something that really helped someone,” Cannon said. “Go do the training, get it, it’s something you think you’ll never need but just having it is super important. The investment paid off 1000 times over.”

Dickson agreed.

“We automatically knew what to do, we knew what the other person was doing and what we should do…take a first aid course, you’ll hopefully never use it, probably never use it, but if you use it you’ll be glad you’ll have it.”

SPSA students were some of the first to take the boys advice; the school took part in CPR and AED training for all students in February.

The family of the 14-year-old are also speaking of the importance of getting training.

“Because of their heroic actions our son’s journey did not end that day. They have gifted us with more time, more memories and the ultimate gift of his life. We are forever grateful and they will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

In Sun Peaks, training is being offered this winter by the Sun Peaks Mountain Rescue Society.

Meanwhile the boys are at home and school and Dickson is continuing to patrol. Both are considering how this event will shape their future.

“I was already into sciences,” Dickson said. “I think it was a good experience, it changed my life because now I kind of want to be a doctor.”

“You never do something like that and are the same person,” Cannon said. “I’ve always been into math, science and been logical. Maybe I’ll move towards more medical things, I find it interesting. Maybe this is what I was meant to do.”