LAKEWOOD -- A Lakewood family understands the importance of CPR.

The Thomas's three boys are the center of the universe to their parents, Eli and Melissa.

But last summer an unthinkable moment happened. The youngest boy, 2-year-old Rhys, almost died.

A family camping trip nearly turned tragic when Rhys found his way into a swimming pool. His father found him.

"I can see the bottom of Rhys' shoe, and he's head down in about four feet of water, and that's when everything changes," Eli remembers.

He put aside panic and began to use the CPR training he'd just learned at work a month earlier.

"What it taught me was simply how to respond, even if I didn't do everything in textbook order I knew the things to try," Eli says.

Rhys made a full recovery, and now the Thomases strongly support a proposal spearheaded by the American Heart Association that would require high school seniors be certified in CPR in order to graduate.

That could translate to 123,000 graduates each year having the skill to save a life.

"To have a whole population of people every year coming out with that training -- invaluable -- it's a no brainer," Eli says.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., but when ordinary people know CPR, a victim's survival rate can double, or even triple.

Twelve states now have laws requiring high school students are certified before graduation. The issue will soon be before the Ohio legislature. To learn more click HERE.