***The following essay is from my essay to the CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge. http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/856830
****I'll add a link to my video once I have posted. I'd be honored for this dream to become a reality.
"Luck of the Irish"
As I’ve spent the last few days watching iReport videos from last year’s “Lucky Seven” and this year’s FitNation hopefuls, I’ve been in awe of the stories and experiences I’ve listened to and read. Everyone seems to have a great reason for applying and there is no doubt that they make a very strong case as to why they should be chosen, but I am going to give this awesome opportunity a shot nonetheless.
Hello to Dr. Gupta and the rest of the Fit Nation team. My name is Douglas and I am a thirty-two years old. As a fourth grade teacher and high school soccer coach in Atlanta, I spend my days trying my best to inspire, educate, and lead my students in a safe (physically and emotionally) and fun environment. I emphasize to them that they need to “work really, really, hard in order to reach excellence” and to pay attention to the details - because details matter.
Ironically, I haven’t adhered to my own advice. Hard work and paying attention to the details seem to have fallen down on my priority chart, which is why I’m speaking to you today.
One year ago, on October 22nd, I went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at the Notre Dame/Southern Cal football game. As a lifelong ND fan and alum, this game serves as a yearly tradition for my family and I. Little did I know that on that brisk October day, Notre Dame would once again play a huge part in my life, and in my future.
The story goes something like this…
Throughout the day my back had been hurting, I was uncomfortable, and something just didn’t feel right. Suggestions from those around me ranged from “Take a couple of Advil” to “Lay on the ground so I can walk on your back.” My discomfort was so bad that I asked my parents to leave campus and drive home before the game even started. As we walked back to the tailgate I collapsed face first into the sidewalk. God’s providence was in my favor that day and He placed a pediatrician only a few feet from my fall. She and my dad quickly began CPR as an AED (and another doctor) arrived on the scene. I was quickly transported to the local trauma hospital and put into thereputic hypothermia. In all, I was down for fifty-two minutes and shocked a total of nine times enroute to the hospital. After being airlifted to Northwestern in Chicago two days later, I spent two weeks in the cardiac ICU. If only I knew that those days in the ICU would prove to be much easier (for me at least) than the days and months ahead.
It goes without saying that this experience has changed my life, but not in the way that you, or I, might think. I’ve spent the last three-hundred seventy days reading books (and not following their advice), attending Cardiac Rehab (and not following their instructions), yo-yo dieting (with several different diets), barely working out (two failed gym memberships), having an ICD installed above my heart (after having another episode in April of 2012), and living with an unbalance in my life that I have been unable to fix by myself – I want and I need to find that balance again. I’ve ignored my reality and the consequences are far too great for me to continue down this path of least resistance.
Recently, I had the great pleasure to travel back to Notre Dame, one year later, and meet the EMTs and pediatrician who saved my life. (Words cannot describe this experience – so I’ll have to show you a couple of picture instead.)
Truth be told, I am not asking for you to feel sorry for me. The event last October is just no longer an excuse. I need, I want, and I crave positive change. CNN Fit Nation and the Triathlon in Malibu are exactly what I need to continue down the road of reaching my full, unlimited potential. I know that I survived for several reasons and I honestly believe that becoming a part of this team is one of them.
My goals are to:
Reduce my daily medication from nine prescriptions to three.
Reach my goal weight of 170 pounds.
Become a public speaker to promote the awareness of SCA and heart disease.
Finish the 2013 Nautica Malibu Triathlon.
I would be honored.
I would be excited.
I would be humbled, to be a part of the “Six Pack”, the “Lucky Seven”, or maybe this year the “Elite Eight.”
Mahola nui loa,
(Thank you very much)