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.
Kim Mendes, Charlotte, NC – 46 at time of event (2013)
Kim is an early riser. The alarm wakes her at 4:30am but she does like a little snooze before getting out of bed. This one time the snooze went longer than normal. Arnesto her husband heard a strange sound, he called out "Binky?", but when he looked over he saw Kim had her tongue between her teeth and wasn't breathing.
Julie Stone, Des Moines, IA – 54 at time of event (2012)
Life can be stressful, and we all have ways to relieve it. For Julie the choice was not obviously dangerous, how could it be? iPod and sneakers, pounding the pavement in the local neighborhood and she went down. Face down that is, just a block from her home. The neighbors were shocked to see it happen and especially when they realized Julie had no pulse, and no breaths. But, they immediately called 9-1-1.
Kathy Sekardi, Phoenix, AZ – 54 at time of event (2012)
On a normal working day at the Supreme Court, Kathy takes her lunch behind a closed door in her office. Lucky for her this particular Wednesday in August 2012 she did not. Instead she had a colleague working with her on a video presentation and so was not alone when her heart stopped beating.
Jack Rivers, Youngsville, NC – 63 at time of event (2011)
Jack and Davelyn had a restaurant, just a small local place, called the Bottle & Bean Bistro, north of Raleigh. The hours were a bit of a strain, maybe a bit too much for Jack because he keeled over one evening just around closing time. The cook found him on the kitchen floor and called out. Deb and Tammy, customers sampling a glass or two of wine with Davelyn, came to the rescue. Deb being a sports trainer knew CPR and Tammy - well let's just say she's now the first gynecologist with a male patient!
Chelsea Olson, Richmond, VA – 21 at time of event (2012)
Before she was ready to enter Medical School, Chelsea needed an operation to fix her displaced hip (technical term; periacetabular osteotomy). Not a pleasant surgical experience, especially for a beautiful 21 year old. The fact that she nearly died the following day makes it even less pleasant. Although as Chelsea said, "I had the easy job!", what she meant was the people around her bed had to make the tough decisions, as she was unconscious and just lay there.
Tony Lindeman, Akron, OH – 46 at time of event (2012)
If you run 1,000 miles a year you'd think you were healthy and "cardiac safe". If you have run seven marathons you'd know you're fit and healthy. Except for that one time. It was the eighth marathon, and Tony never got past the 2 mile mark.
"It was just like any other day, for a marathon. Everything was pretty much the same as every run I'd trained for... We were all lined up at the starting line, discussing who was going to be the last one in," Tony said. "We took off and started running, everything was fine, after the first mile and a half I remember making the turn [onto a street] and from there it's a blank."
Douglas Mogle, Roswell, GA – 31 at time of event (2011)
Douglas was at a peak of fitness and had done all the right things; eating healthily, losing weight, working out. So when he felt a terrible back-ache at the Notre Dame game he didn't think of cardiac issues. Alas, he didn't get to see his alma mater kickoff. Neither did his father. They spent the next week in a hospital trying to understand what caused Douglas to fall face down on the pavement at the tailgate party.
Michelle Rajpolt, Monroe, CT – 11 at time of event (2010)
Born with congenital heart defects means that Michelle has been sport restricted her whole life. She got her first cardiac device implanted as a toddler. She joined the zipper club before primary school, and she absolutely loves a roller-coaster ride. One Monday afternoon at school gym playing dodgeball, Michelle felt ill, took a break and collapsed.