On September 27, 2011, two weeks before my 14th birthday, while playing in a field hockey game for my high school, I collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest. Two coaches recognized that I was not breathing and without hesitation, immediately started CPR.
I was also very fortunate that there were three parents at the game, who happened to be nurses, who took over performing CPR for the two coaches. Between the five of them, they performed CPR on me for over 7 minutes until the ambulance came and used a defibrillator to administer the shock needed to reset my heart.
If not for them performing CPR, my family was told I most likely would not have survived and that because the coaches started CPR immediately, I suffered no brain or organ damage.
These five women will forever be my heroes. Because of them, I am one of the fortunate ones who fall into the eight percent of people who survive a sudden cardiac arrest event outside of the hospital. I was diagnosed with an anomalous coronary artery, which is a congenital birth defect and underwent open heart surgery.
That's my cardiologist, Dr Gaskin, with me in the picture below. Without detection of this defect, it was inevitable that at some point in my life, I was going to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest event.
Since then, I’ve been able to participate in You’re the Cure to help encourage legislators to support more people learning CPR. I was especially interested in the Maryland bill to train students in CPR before they graduate from high school, and worked with legislators and media to help build support.
I was so glad to see it pass in 2014! Our community needs as many CPR-trained people as we can get!
I was very lucky that when this did happen, there were five people trained in CPR who saved my life. Through this life changing experience, I have learned that life is truly a blessing and to appreciate every single minute.
Not everyone will be as lucky as I was. If more people were trained in CPR, the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest would increase and more lives would be saved.