A Survivor's Father Pays It Forward and Saves a Life

A Survivor's Father Pays It Forward and Saves a Life

Mark Kendall, second from left and Tony Dossett, third from left

2015 Nominee – Tony Dossett
Survivor – Mark Kendall, Orlando, FL, 46 at time of event (April 22, 2015)
Location of event – Parking lot

My name is Mark Kendall. I am a 46-year-old father of four, and my cardiac arrest occurred on a hot 100 plus degree Florida afternoon on April 22, 2015, in the parking lot of a pizza restaurant. 

Without any warning at all, I went into cardiac arrest that day and collapsed onto the hot black asphalt where bystanders saw me go down and began to surround my then lifeless body. An investigator with the Orange County State Attorney's Office, Tony Dossett, was driving by when he saw the crowd of people gathering around my body. He drove across the center median to the parking lot and upon realizing I had no pulse, he began performing CPR and continued doing so for approximately 15 minutes before EMS arrived. He did this on a black top parking lot that was estimated to be around 130 degrees that day. The heat was so bad that I suffered two third-degree burns on my legs from when I was unconscious in the parking lot. Yet in spite of the hot asphalt, Tony continued performing CPR non-stop for about 20 minutes until EMS arrived. I then had to be shocked three times before I began responding and a pulse was detected. 

Eight weeks after my incident, I got to meet and thank Tony for saving my life. I learned that in 2012 Tony's son Damon also had sudden cardiac arrest at a banquet at the University of South Florida. There, an ER nurse named Wanda Velazquez was in attendance and rushed to Damon's side and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. The Dossett family credits Wanda Velazquez for saving Damon's life and I unequivocally credit Tony for saving mine, when in spite of the temperature that day and the heat of the parking lot, without hesitation he did what few people may have done or what few people know how to do. He saved my life with CPR.

Nominated by Mark Kendall

See Mark's story here.

Afterword: Mark passed away from cardiac arrest in January 2017

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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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