FORESTVILLE (KPIX 5) — A North Bay teenager and his father are traveling to Pasadena to be in the Rose Parade on a special float for young heroes and the loved ones whose lives they saved.
Riding atop the entry from the American Heart Association and Union Bank will be 15-year-old Lewis Griffith and his father Steve from Forestville.
“It’s gonna be awesome,” says Lewis. “I’ve never been to the Rose Bowl Parade and now I’m gonna be IN the Rose Parade.”
The float, called “Keep the Beat Alive,” features young heroes who administered CPR and the adults whose lives they saved.
Two years ago, Lewis was watching TV at home on a hot summer day when his father collapsed after doing carpentry work outside.
“I saw him lying on the ground lifeless,” says Lewis.
“My heart had stopped,” said Steve. “I had a full cardiac arrest.”
Lewis’s mother Elizabeth Westerfield got instructions from 911.
“The operator asked ‘does someone there know how to do CPR?'”
“The heroic phrase for the ages for my life was my son saying, ‘I can do that,’” said Steve.
His parents had no idea Lewis knew CPR.
“In 7th grade, when I went to Forestview Academy, there was a mandatory class,” said Lewis.
“Lewis was by himself with his Dad for 5-6 minutes doing CPR,” said Elizabeth. “I was stunned.”
But so grateful.
“I love you and thank you and looking forward to lots more life,” says Steve.
For the last two years, Steve and Lewis have been spokespeople for CPR awareness. They helped lobby for a new California law requiring high school students learn CPR before graduating.
“CPR is really important thing to learn because you never know when it can help,” said Lewis.
That’s the message the Griffith family will continue to convey from the bottom of their hearts.
The law that Lewis and his dad helped pass requires high schools to teach CPR in health classes starting in the 2018 academic year. Many schools already do.