Posted on 05/09/2014

My name is Rick Chap, and I live in Orlando, Florida. I’m a 56 year-old SCA survivor. I would like to nominate Jennifer Chap, my wife, for the 2012 People Saving People Award. My SCA occurred on February 27, 2012, in our home. Here’s our story and why Jennifer is my hero…

We own a strategic marketing/research firm that we operate from our home. February 27th started out as usual. Jennifer was in her office on a conference call with our client. And, I was in the kitchen getting a second cup of coffee, when SCA struck me. This story would have ended here had it not been for one of our beloved cats, Buddy. Buddy was in Jennifer’s office and must have sensed something was terribly wrong. He unusually started acting up, meowing and jumping to get her attention. She picked him up to relocate him, only to find me on our kitchen floor gasping for air. With the phone in her hand, she immediately dialed 911.

The dispatcher worked quickly to get help on the way. But within a matter of seconds, I was in full cardiac arrest and took my last breath in her arms. Jennifer knew instinctively that she had to start CPR and told the operator. It had been 20+ years since her CPR class, but she was aware that the protocol was chest compressions only to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.” So she got all 220 pounds of me flat on the floor and began dispatcher-assisted chest compressions.

She delivered more than 300 compressions until Orlando Fire Department EMS arrived and took over. They shocked me once—enough to restart my heart. They intubated me and transported me to Orlando Health hospital, where I got incredible emergency cardiac care. I was cared for by amazing doctors and nurses. And after being placed in hypothermia and getting a stent in my LAD, on Day 11, I came home.

My nurses nicknamed me Miracle Man, because I have no heart muscle damage and no brain damage. I’m especially grateful for my Jennifer and my cat Buddy. For without their intervention, I would not be telling this story.

I believe Jennifer deserves recognition as my “wifesaver.” She stayed calm, immediately dialed 911, correctly assessed the situation, and performed effective CPR that saved my life and gave me the chance for my miraculous outcome. And, she has stayed by my side ever since, as my partner in all this… supporting my recovery.

And, now as a team we plan to pay it forward as CPR instructors very soon. We hope to train others and share our story. I am living proof that CPR saves lives… and the life you save may be someone you love.

Nominated by Rick Chap , Orlando, Florida