On the morning of February 14th 2007, three minutes before my heart stopped, three people made choices that saved my life.
A postman was selecting his route, a nurse with an unexpected day off was heading to Starbucks, and my business partner called just before I ran out the door of my home.
Instead of letting the call go to voicemail, something compelled me to answer the call—so that three minutes later, instead of being on the highway going 60 mph, I was driving up a side street near my home when I had my cardiac arrest.
The postman and nurse appeared at just the right time to perform CPR for eight minutes until the medics arrived. Which meant that it was not my day to die.
Helene Rish, Sanford, FL – 38 at time of event (2012)
Patti Farrell, Milwaukee, WI – 61 at time of event (2013)
Patti Farrell had always been very healthy, but lately had been experiencing increasing shortness of breath and stomach aches. While shopping at Target, the 61-year-old could hardly breathe and the pain was so intense she had to rest in her car. Her daughter-in-law arrived and took Patti to the hospital, where doctors discovered fluid in her lungs and diagnosed Patti with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.
Darren Califano, Sanford, FL – 47 at time of event (2012)
Barbara Campbell, Lewisburg, TN – 67 at time of event (2012)
“Family is very important to me. Everyone knows I love family.” For as long as she could remember, 67-year-old Barbara Campbell hosted a weekly Sunday dinner for her four children and six grandchildren. In recent years, the tradition started to take a physical toll. Barbara was constantly exhausted and she would lose her breath just walking across the room. As she was preparing a meal one Sunday, she turned to her husband, Everett and said: “I can’t do this anymore.”
Sue Young, Tiverton, RI – 57 at time of event (2012)
"I was at a birthday party one Friday night," Sue recalled. It was just after dinner at the local restaurant where Brenda's family had arranged the party in November.
"I just felt strange, I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't feel right, so I went to the ladies room." Sue then felt nauseous and a cold sweat broke out. She knew this was serious.
Tawnya Reynolds, Chesapeake, VA – 41 at time of event (2013)
It was a hot April afternoon. Tawnya wanted to go for a run — she likes to train for the half marathon — however Billy, her husband, convinced her to do some X-Fit instead. So there they were, the two young daughters on their scooters, Billy and Tawyna on the driveway flipping tractor tires.
"I don't feel good, Billy," Tawnya said and collapsed into his arms.
Zachary Gingold, Los Angeles, CA – 14 at time of event (2009)
I was fourteen at the time, on a trip to Israel with my family celebrating my sister’s Bat Mitzvah. It was supposed to be a wonderful excursion for everyone, a two-week experience of a lifetime in the holiest of places when tragedy struck. I could hear my heart beat pounding in my ears and it felt as if everyone around me could hear it too. Feeling quite ill, I knew something was wrong.
Amanda Haynes, Bedford, TX – 26 at time of event (2008)
My name is Amanda. I was pregnant with my second child. The whole pregnancy was normal and I had a scheduled C-section due to my first being a failure to progress. I don't remember much at the hospital, but as I was told the delivery was fine. I was in recovery and the nurse checked my vitals and left the room. I was talking and laughing, took a sip of juice, and then fell over.