Heidi Stewart's heart stopped beating at the age of 18 in her high school in Vancouver, Washington, prompting authorities and instructors to begin CPR.
The principal and instructors took turns keeping Stewart alive until the EMS team came.
When the teachers and principal came to see her in the hospital, she was able to express her gratitude. But Stewart, now 23, had always wanted to track down and thank the paramedic who had been with her in the ambulance on the way to the hospital five years ago. She wanted to express her gratitude to him for assisting her in surviving.
He had fire tattoos on both arms, but that was all she remembered about him.
Her attempts to locate him were fruitless due to a lack of information. Despite this, she kept asking for five years, looking for him at numerous volunteer events in the hopes of finding the paramedic with the fire tattoos.
Stewart finally found her hero after more than five years.
Anne and William were volunteering at the Quinn Driscoll Foundation Heart Screenings in North Garrison Heights, Washington, for CPR training.
The day had begun out like any other for paramedic David Crabtree when he works an event.
He was passing by a booth when he struck up a conversation with a man who began informing him about his daughter's event. 'Oh my gosh, you're describing me!' he exclaimed. ’”
"It was wonderful," Stewart said later that day when he met Crabtree. "It was incredible," Stewart added. Stewart was finally able to speak the simple words she'd been dying to say: thank you, through tears.
For her, the opportunity presented itself to express the great thanks she had been harboring for years. It also allowed her to close the loop in some sense.
Crabtree was overjoyed with the opportunity.
"You don't get comments on anything like that very frequently," he remarked. Many of the calls are "pretty ordinary," he noted, and do not involve saving a life, particularly that of a young child. When he and others on his team reacted to the call, he felt particularly moved and concerned as a father.
Stewart had been diagnosed with ARVD, or arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, and he had often worried about how he had fared. "But when I got to meet her, she informed me she had gone to college and was now working... You don't get these stories very frequently," he said.