One day in 2012 the unthinkable happened, and Laura Metro’s life changed forever.
She and husband Matt were on vacation with their children, 3-year-old son Clay and 6-year-old daughter Maison. The kids were playing in a pool under the supervision of friends while Laura went for a run.
She returned to a terrifying scene.
Clay had become submerged in the water and, by the time he was pulled out, he was nearly dead. As he lay on the deck, lifeless and blue, a friend quickly began chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Clay was rushed to a hospital by helicopter and made a full recovery, amazingly, with no cognitive damage. Physicians told Metro that the friend’s quick actions probably saved Clay’s life.
“My son’s accident sparked my urgency to learn CPR,” Metro says. “I thought at the time, ‘How can I not know CPR? Someone else had to administer CPR and save him.’”
The near-tragedy compelled Metro to found two organizations — one to help prevent similar instances; another to help families cope when drownings do occur.
Metro launched CPR Party, a program of the CLAY Foundation, to impart that lifesaving skill.
She took a familiar concept, the Tupperware party, and put a new spin on it. At a CPR Party, attendees gather at a home to enjoy food and drink in a casual atmosphere. Then a certified instructor-trainer begins teaching CPR. Eventually guests practice on dummies themselves. Admission typically costs $15, though Metro is looking for corporate sponsors in the hopes that, one day, all training will be free.
CPR Party, now six years old, has gone on to train hundreds of people nationwide. But Metro is looking for a way to train more rapidly, and impart the lifesaving skill to even more people. “Maybe the aquatics industry can get involved, holding CPR Parties at pools, to train on a larger scale,” she says.
Metro also is a founder of Families United to Prevent Drowning, whose members have experienced the death or near death of loved ones due to water tragedies. The group is an affiliate of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and works to bring an end to loss of life due to drowning, entrapment or lack of bystander CPR knowledge.
“My No. 1 goal is to raise awareness to prevent drowning, and teach CPR,” Metro adds. A background in public relations and digital marketing no doubt has helped achieve the organizations’ success.
Since 2016, Metro also has served on the NDPA Board. “Laura’s been instrumental in our social media involvement,” says Adam Katchmarchi, NDPA executive director. “She’s an absolute genius and a force to be reckoned with — a force you can’t stop.”