** Guest blog by Don Marentette, Red Cross Canada’s national manager of first aid programs. Don is currently in California attending the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update conference. We asked him to share some updates on the conference on this blog. Here is his first entry.

Last night, during the opening of the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update conference, the audience was introduced to the two remaining pioneers of CPR, Dr. James Jude and Dr. Guy Knickerbocker. We learned about some of their studies that have directly led to more than 300 million people trained in resuscitation techniques globally, and over 2 million lives saved using the same technique of CPR. Yes, that was 2 million lives saved! Wow!

Meeting the two pioneers was part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of CPR, which also included Dr Mickey Eisenberg, who has taught and studied CPR for 30 years, as a keynote speaker. He did a beautiful job of taking more than 2,000 rescuers, trainers and scientists through a historical journey and a celebration of individuals that have benefited from the care of someone else through CPR. One of those individuals was Velma. She discovered her husband, Jim, on the bathroom floor and listened in as the emergency medical dispatch talked her through the steps that lead to his survival.

The next several days of the conference will be about celebrating those that have shown the courage to help someone in need; celebrating  those that have shown the dedication to developing the science behind the techniques we use; and celebrating the lives of CPR survivors.

It is intensely exciting to witness this many people from every training agency in North America, from over 30 countries together for one reason – which is also the sole reason  I got into the helping profession  over 20 years ago - to help someone in need.