Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

A Rude Awakening

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.

Who Knew She Was Out For a Walk?

Julie Stone, Des Moines, IA – 54 at time of event (2012)

Julie Stone

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.

He Would Not Stop

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.

He Was a Challenge, But He's Not Leaving

Jack Rivers, Youngsville, NC – 63 at time of event (2011)

Jack Rivers

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!

Marathon Man Had the Luckiest Day of His Life

Tony Lindeman, Akron, OH – 46 at time of event (2012)

Tony Lindeman 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."

Whenever His Back Aches

Douglas Mogle, Roswell, GA – 31 at time of event (2011)

Douglas Mogle & Nicole 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.

No Stopping Those Roller-coaster Rides!

Michelle Rajpolt, Monroe, CT – 11 at time of event (2010)

Michelle Rajpolt 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.

Spring Break Nearly Broke Her

Patricia Harris, Whitsett, NC – 51 at time of event (2010)

Patricia & Ricky Harris

April fools day is not the time to fool around with a heart attack. Not if you live out in the country. And not if you're a Grandmother. Alas, Patricia didn't realize she was suffering a complete blockage of her LAD artery. In men it's called a "widow maker".

A few days before, Patricia's arms had felt sore.
"Like I had been moving furniture!" she said. But she hadn't. She also felt a little out of breath and dizzy.

This Movie Nearly Had a Bad Ending

Patricia Harris

My story begins on April 1, 2010. I had spent the day with my grandaughter.

We had gone to the movies and out to lunch and had a nice day. That afternoon, right after my daughter left with my granddaughter, I started feeling dizzy and short of breath.

I called my husband and told him I needed to see a doctor. He happened to be right around the corner and was there to pick me up in minutes. He took me to Alamance Hospital. He said I walked in the door and told the receptionist that I was going to pass out but I do not remember going to the hospital. They got me a wheelchair and took me back while my husband moved the car. When he came back in they took him to a room and soon the chaplain can in.

A College Student’s Story of Survival

Paula Opheim Milliner, Indianapolis, IN – 20 at time of event (2004)

Paula OpheimFor most college students facing their 21st birthday, plans for celebration and exciting thoughts for experiencing new places and people are the common theme. Unfortunately in my case, thoughts of survival and whether I was ever going to maintain a normal lifestyle at 20 were at the forefront of my contemplations. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a disease that is rare to most, but commonly runs in my family. Like most young teenagers I didn’t really think anything of it or that it would actually have a significant effect on my life. Surely, it wouldn’t put me in the hospital until I was in the 60’s.

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