Campus Saves

I’m Much Safer Now.

Evan Piekara

Evan Piekara, Queens, NY – 24 at time of event (2008)

Teach for America* nearly lost one of their stars. Just one month after his 24th birthday, Evan collapsed on the St John’s University basketball court. He’d had a trying month, twenty days straight without a break, and this was his first day off. It became a longer time-out than planned.

That July afternoon he fell to the ground after a particularly satisfying basket. Everyone stopped and stared. Someone thought to call security. Steve Ptacek arrived in minutes and brought an AED with him. He started CPR since Evan had no pulse, and wasn’t breathing, just making a strange gasping sound. The AED could not restore a rhythm. Evan was dying. Fit, healthy and energetic, this young man was slipping away and yet everything possible was being done to save him.

Master Swimmers Don't Die…

Brian Duffield

Brian Duffield, Tucson, AZ – 40 at time of event (2006)

Brian is a member of a US Masters Swimmer group. There are about forty of them in Tucson that get together regularly and swim their hearts out at the University of Arizona pool. Well, on this particular Tuesday morning Brian nearly did! About half way into the session he didn’t feel at all well, and got out of the pool with an unusual fatigue. He decided to finish for the day and shower. That was when his chin hit the floor. He doesn’t know anything about it as he was unconscious at the time. Luckily, a young lad witnessed the fall and raised the alarm.

Circle of Life That Nearly Wasn’t

Liz Pearlman

Liz Pearlman, Aurora, IL – 20 at time of event (2009)

What would you like for your 21st birthday? How about a wearable defibrillator? Liz had to wear one for three months, think of a bullet-proof vest, add a canteen sized battery and you get the idea. Why would she need or even want that? A few weeks earlier, she had been practicing for the varsity basketball team and doing a “circle of life” sprinting exercise to earn her jersey. She had five seconds to go and suffered a cardiac arrest.
“I was on my back and Terry Smith [the athletic trainer] said ‘Get up!’ Then he saw my eyes roll into the back of my head. He immediately started CPR,” Liz said. “And, he called for an ambulance and an AED, which we had right outside our gym.”

The Team Rules, OK!

Kayla Burt

Kayla Burt, Portland, OR - 20 at time of event, 2002

It was New Years Eve, and her basketball team was staying over to celebrate. But Kayla never saw the festivities. She had freshly brushed teeth, and a brush with death. Loree Payne, her best friend, watched Kayla fall face down between the bed and the TV—they all thought it was a joke. But it wasn’t. None of her teammates knew CPR, but they’d seen it on TV. How hard could it be? Someone called 9-1-1, and luckily the operator gave instructions on the correct technique. The EMTs were there within minutes. Kayla is proud that she lived in Seattle. That city is the best in the country for cardiac arrest survival, chiefly because of their Medic One program.

A College Student’s Story of Survival

Paula Milliner

Paula Milliner, Indianapolis, IN – 20 at time of event (2004)

For most college students facing their 21st birthday, plans for celebration and exciting thoughts for experiencing new places and people are the common theme. Unfortunately in my case, thoughts of survival and whether I was ever going to maintain a normal lifestyle at 20 were at the forefront of my contemplations. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a disease that is rare to most, but commonly runs in my family. Like most young teenagers I didn’t really think anything of it or that it would actually have a significant effect on my life. Surely, it wouldn’t put me in the hospital until I was in the 60’s.

A Determined Chef Who Can’t Stay Down

Champion Chef

Doug Chrisman, 18, Hyde Park, NY – 18 at time of event (2008)

Monday morning, 7:30am, Doug was busy skimming the stock in preparation for that day’s class. The stock didn’t make it. Doug did. His classmates at the CIA (The Culinary Institute of America that is) saw the freshman from Missouri collapse, and one of them ran to get the nurse. The chef called the Safety Office and an AED was immediately brought to the scene. Doug was unresponsive and his pulse had disappeared, his face was turning blue — they only had minutes before he would die. In a text book case of the “Chain of Survival”, 9-1-1 was called, CPR started, and the AED used within just a few minutes.

Childhood Friendship Lives On

Brett Kuhn

Brett Kuhn, Mt Pleasant, MI – 18 at time of event (2010)

Brett and Chris have been buddies from a young age. They have had their differences, over football that is. Brett was a Chippewa (Central MI) and that day they were playing the Broncos (Western MI). Chris is a Spartan (MI State) but that didn’t stop him from saving Brett’s life later that night in an unusual emergency. A fit and healthy eighteen-year-old track and field star isn’t supposed to drop down dead at an after game party!

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The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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