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Red Cross honors mom as CPR hero

The Fred Meyer Breakfast of Champions also honors a life-saving dog
by: Jaime Valdez, TUALATIN HERO — Susan Richardson gave son CPR for eight minutes as she waited for help.

In June 2007, Susan Richardson's 16-year-old son suffered a cardiac arrest. For eight minutes, Richardson gave her son, Robby, CPR.

She paused between chest compressions waiting for signs of life. But Robby did not wake up. He was clinically dead for 19 minutes.

Ultimately it was the life-saving drugs and six shocks from a defibrillator that revived Robby's heart. Richardson can name each of the firefighters, paramedics, the 9-1-1 dispatcher and her younger son that played a part in reviving her oldest son. She called them all heroes during an interview with The Times in August.

But on Tuesday it was Richardson who was recognized as the hero.

The American Red Cross recognized her as a CPR Hero during the Fred Meyer Breakfast of Champions at the Oregon Convention Center's Portland Ballroom earlier this month.

Doctors believe that it was the chest compressions Richardson performed prior to the arrival of emergency responders that helped save her son's life.

Robby, a junior at Tualatin High School and member of the lacrosse team, was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. After being revived and spending days in Legacy Emmanuel Hospital, Robby recovered with only some initial problems with short-term memory recall.

Two months after Robby was revived, Richardson said she still thought back to that late night in the tiny bathroom where he collapsed.

'I truly had that sobering thought that he could die,' Richardson said of her son. 'And when I was trying to figure out what to do, who should give CPR, I just did it. I thought that if something happens, it needs to be on my shoulders.'

The American Red Cross' signature event, the Fred Meyer Breakfast of Champions, honored heroes from across Oregon.

The group honored the Weiss/Parker family with a Blood Heroes award. Family members have donated blood 1,228 times since 1976, which accounts for about 153 gallons of blood.

The group even honored Velvet the dog with an Animal Hero award. The black Labrador retriever-shepherd mix dog became stranded on Mt. Hood with his owner Matty Bryant and other hikers during a winter storm. Velvet took turns cuddling with the hikers to keep them alert and warm through the long, cold night.