Posted on 11/14/2021

Survivor: Shunbao Li

Date of Event:

Location of Event: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Robert Lane

My wife's parents are 67-years-old and have lived with us the 10 years of our marriage together. I call them Mama and Baba. Daily, they help us to raise our two children, to cook, to clean, to do laundry, and Baba has been renovating our home in Ann Arbor.

Last summer, our project was to add a deck and landscaping on the back side of the house. They are both incredibly energetic and hard working. On the evening of July 17, 2020, they left our home for their apartment at 8:45 p.m. after a long day of working. We both remember their departure as if it was a minute ago.

A few minutes later, Mama called my phone screaming hysterically. Baba had a sudden cardiac arrest while driving one of our cars. He had driven off the road a mile from our home. 

My wife and I grabbed our two-year-old daughter, gave our nine-year old son instructions to stay at home, and jumped in the car.

Within a few minutes, we were at the scene of the accident. When we arrived at the scene, Baba was lying on the ground and the ambulance was just arriving. Baba had a massive cardiac arrest. The diagnosis was 95% blockage of the left main artery known as the “widow maker.” After a stent, therapeutic hypothermia, three weeks intubated in ICU, stomach bleeding, pneumonia, a total of five weeks in the hospital, he is now recovered.

We are so incredibly grateful for everything that happened so perfectly that evening. Almost immediately, two men walking on Green Road were there to help Mama. One called 911 and the other who was out for an evening run, Robert Lane, gave Mama instructions to unlock the door and put the car in park. Then he dragged my father-in-law out of the car, put him on the ground, and immediately began administering CPR. Mama reported later that Robert was sweating profusely that hot summer night – and even risked COVID. The Huron Valley Ambulance team that arrived on the scene later reported that they had never seen someone perform CPR so skillfully.

Baba is not only alive, but has a sharp memory and no loss of organ function. We do not know exactly how long his heart stopped. We do know that of all the heroes – the EMS team, the ER team, and all of Baba doctors – say that without the first hero, Robert Lane – who gave Baba CPR almost immediately and so skillfully – without him, no one else would have had a chance to show their heroism.

We are extraordinarily grateful. We know what happened and that the odds were against us. Our hope is that more and more people will share our experience of survival.

Nominated by Joel Schoenhals