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Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Red Cross Team Up to Help Save Lives


On February 4, then nine-year-old Anaiah Rucker of Madison, Ga., saved the life of her little sister by pushing her from the path of an oncoming pickup truck. That truck then struck Rucker.

Moments later, a second heroine, school bus driver Loretta Berryman, used CPR to save Rucker’s life. The brave actions of both are in the spotlight this week as ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (EMHE) partners with the American Red Cross to train more people in CPR during their build of a wheelchair-friendly home for the Rucker family.

“This whole week, the Red Cross has been teaching Citizen CPR to volunteers, spectators, builders, our designers and people from the Madison community so that they, too, can be heroes-in-waiting, just like Loretta Berryman,” said Diane Korman, EMHE senior producer. “We’re honored to partner with the Red Cross to help even more people learn this basic lifesaving skill during our build of a more comfortable home for Anaiah.”

Berryman and some of her family members attended one of the training sessions at the local Lions Club this week. They were surprised when Jeff Taylor and Mandy Johnson of the Eastern Georgia (Athens) Chapter of the Red Cross presented Berryman with a National Certificate of Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action. The award presentation and portions of the week’s training sessions were filmed and are expected to be part of the EMHE episode currently scheduled to air in October.

“We want to thank Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and the Eastern Georgia Chapter for all of their efforts to help make the Madison area safer by empowering people with the knowledge and skills to respond to an emergency,” said Ruben Brown, Atlanta-based communicator for the Red Cross. “The entire experience has been very uplifting and rewarding.” Brown also played an important role in the project.

The American Red Cross is the nation’s largest provider of lifesaving training. In addition to the Citizen CPR Hands-Only course, your local Red Cross chapter offers training in full CPR, first aid skills and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Contact your local Red Cross or visit redcross.org/training for details and to register.