CPR class hosted in Sam Merrill's honor - WNEM TV 5

CPR class hosted in Sam Merrill's honor

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A life taken too soon is inspiring people to help give heart attack victims a fighting chance.

The death of TV5's Sam Merrill came as a shock to everyone who knew him, but that loss could mean the difference between life and death for someone else.

Merrill died from a heart attack six months ago after clearing snow. His wife Katy Merrill said the pain of losing him is still fresh, but has made it her mission to make some good come from the tragedy.

She teamed up with the Pulse3 Foundation, MMR and Blue Cross Blue Shield to train people on CPR.

"I think it's awesome that you guys are all here to educate yourselves on CPR because you just never know. Never in my life would I have thought Sam would have died at just 55," Katy Merrill said.

She spoke to a room full of people at Freeland Sports Zone, telling them she performed CPR on Sam and takes comfort in knowing she did everything she could. At Wednesday's training she taught people the vital, potentially life-saving skill.

"You need to have a plan for an emergency. We're not going to save everybody, but you at least need to know you've done all that you can do," said Ken White, CPR instructor.

The American Heart Association said only 46 percent of cardiac arrest victims get the immediate help they need.

The class was only an hour long, but those who took it left with a life-saving skill.

"I'll be able to hopefully help if somebody has a cardiac arrest," said Andy Shaffner, participant.

Katy Merrill said the more people who know CPR, the better we'll all be.

"This is a way we can give back to the community and pay it forward too. Sam would be so, I think so happy that we're doing this in his honor," she said.

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