In June of 2017, I survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) while out for a run in my neighborhood. I was extremely fortunate that Bill Schlies, at the time an unknown neighbor, saw me lifeless on the ground, stopped and called 911, performed CPR for 4 minutes until a local police officer stopped and effectively used an Automated External Defibrillator on me.
My heart returned to a normal rhythm, but I remained unconscious as I was taken to the hospital. After a day of my family not knowing if I would ever wake up, or if I did what my mental state would be, I regained consciousness and began remembering my friends and family who were gathered in the room. To this day I have no memory of what happened - remembering nothing after the day before the event.
What I learned was this: I did not have a heart attack - SCA is different, it's an electrical misfiring of the heart...and to this day, there is no medical reason it happened to me. I'm a fit 48 year old who is in excellent health...point is, SCA can happen to anyone - it doesn't discriminate based on age, level of fitness, gender, or race - but it does take over 365,000 lives every year...more than the top 4 cancers combined. Survival rates hover around 7% - 3% for those that aren't witnessed, such as mine. I am now passionate about doing something with this gift that was given to me - to spread awareness around SCA, helping to get more life-saving AEDs in our communities, and educating the public on the ease of how to use AEDs. My message is for people to "Be like Bill" - be that person who jumps in and helps someone in need. Bill did, and it saved my life.