Posted on 11/03/2017
Ryan, Heather and Taylor Kennedy
2017 Nominees – Ryan and Taylor Kelley
Survivor – Heather Kelley, Bellevue, WA, 48 at time of event (February 5, 2015)

Location of Event – Public setting

On February 5, 2015, Seattle threw the biggest party in our city’s history. Over 700,000 people braved sub-freezing temperatures and filled the streets to cheer on our first time Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Much to their surprise and delight, I let my two daughters skip school and took them downtown to join the fun. We were walking to the celebration in CenturyLink Field, but we never made it. Just blocks from the stadium my heart suddenly and unexpectedly stopped. I grabbed daughter’s shoulder and fell straight back onto the sidewalk.

My daughters screamed and cried for help, but no one stopped. With their mom unresponsive on the ground they knew they had to act. My older daughter who was just 15, got down on her knees, unzipped my coat and started CPR, which she had learned in school. My 13-year-old daughter tried calling 911 but was unable to get through because of the cellphone use by the huge crowd.

At some point, a police officer arrived on the scene and took over CPR. Someone who walked by us found a fire truck parked a couple blocks away and alerted them that someone needed help. Three of the firefighters grabbed their gear and ran to us, while the fourth firefighter struggled to maneuver his truck through the overwhelming crowd of people.

The firefighters arrived and took over CPR. While my daughters sat nearby, they set up the AED and administered three shocks before getting a normal heart rhythm. When the paramedics arrived, they took over my care and transported me to the ER where the team continued working to save my life. After several hours, I was conscious and my terrified daughters knew I would survive. A week later, I had an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) inserted and went home to recover.

I am alive today because of the quick-thinking and courageous actions of my incredible daughters. In the three years since my SCA, they have volunteered at every opportunity with several organizations to share their story, educate people about SCA, teach CPR and demonstrate how to use an AED. They saved my life that day in February and the work they continue to do means other lives may be saved as well. I am a deeply proud and forever grateful mom.

Nominated by Heather Kelley