Overcoming All Obstacles: Calvin’s Story of Saving Lives from a Wheelchair

ProTrainings Overcoming All Obstacles: Calvin’s Story of Saving Lives from a Wheelchair

At ProTrainings, we hear about a lot of incredible stories of professionals and layrescuers alike saving lives and giving others a chance at tomorrow. While those stories never fail to warm our hearts and continue to motivate us to create more rescuers every single day, we recently heard a story from one of our group CPR administrators about an incredible young man with quadriplegia who was determined to learn CPR. 

We sat down (virtually) with Nikki Upchurch, an Educational Philosophy Specialist at College Pathways, the non-traditional secondary school of The Classical Academy in Colorado, to hear all about Calvin, the man with the relentless can-do attitude.

Where There’s a Will… 

As part of her health and wellness educational segment, Nikki Upchurch coordinated CPR training and certification for all her students at College Pathways. All of her students were eager to participate, including Calvin, a young man with quadriplegia who is bound to life in a wheelchair. 

However, as Upchurch was coordinating the CPR program with her original CPR training provider, they informed her that Calvin could not be certified because he couldn’t physically perform chest compressions. Determined to find a way for Calvin to be part of the training and to learn skills that could help him save a member of his family, a friend, or a stranger in need one day, Nikki and Calvin wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. 

As a member of his school community, Calvin was often celebrated for his positive attitude and refusal to let his physical situation limit him. He took an active role in every class he had. If he couldn’t physically participate, he would use his voice. When his classes had a physical component, he would modify it and perform to the best of his ability, never shying away from participation or a challenge. 

CPR certification was no different – and Nikki was determined to continue encouraging Calvin’s outlook on life by finding a CPR certification organization that would “recognize [his] viability and certify him for helping save a life through CPR.” 

There’s Always a Way

We’re grateful that Nikki continued to research her and Calvin’s options for CPR certification, because she soon found us at ProTrainings. Our expert CPR instructors told Nikki that Calvin absolutely could be certified and set out to create a specialized training for Calvin. 

While Calvin couldn’t safely get out of his wheelchair and perform the physical movements needed for CPR without injuring himself or someone else, he was absolutely capable of calling for help, reassuring an unskilled rescuer, and narrating the steps the person would need to perform to resuscitate the victim. 

Through his program, Calvin took on a leadership role by narrating the CPR process and instructing his classmates on proper compression techniques, including hand placement, speed, and depth. He also directed them on how to use an AED and how to perform rescue breathing — he was a natural! 

By the end of the class, Calving earned his Advisor: Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and joined his class and his community at large as someone who could indeed help save a life.

Thanks to Calvin’s determination, Nikki’s dedication to her students, and the partnership with ProTrainings, Nikki’s class celebrated 100% CPR certification that year. She, Calvin, and their entire community are proof that with determination, a proactive attitude, and the right training support, anything is possible. 
If you’re working with a group in need of CPR certification and have special circumstances you need help accommodating as part of your training program, reach out to us at ProTrainings! For more than 20 years we’ve been helping create more rescuers in the world through life-saving skills training and we’d love to work with you to shatter barriers – just like Calvin.