Survivor Stories

An important component of the SCAA are our Survivors. They have survived a sudden cardiac arrest and share their stories here in the hopes that others may benefit from their experience.

Click links below each story for these survivors' stories.

Do you have a survivor story to tell? Let us know!

Meghan Harriott

On January 31, 2011 I started my work day like any other with sitting talking to one of my employees. She was explaining to me what had happened over the weekend, and we were laughing when all of a sudden I stopped laughing and slumped over my desk

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Jerri Liu

I don't know how to start. All I can say is—I am glad to be alive!

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Jen Morrow

Jen MorrowOn the morning of June 4, 2010 (just one month after my 30th birthday), I went into cardiac arrest at my home in California. I don't have any memory from that morning, and my memory from that whole week is fuzzy.Complete article »

Ralph Lind

Ralph LindMy story begins with running. I'm not a fast runner, not a "good" runner, but a runner nonetheless.Complete article »

Tyler Byall

Jen MorrowIn the summer of 2009, Kristi Polcsak was driving home from Pretty Lake when she was overtaken by a terrifying feeling. Something bad was going to happen to her 16-year-old son, Tyler Byall, when he was 17.Complete article »

Faith Sendelweck

Faith SendelweckFaith Sendelweck would just like to get back to a normal routine.Complete article »

Joy Day

Joy DayHello! My name is Joy and I'm a SCA survivor.Complete article »

Judy Mims

Judy MimsIt was just an ordinary Sunday, November 16, 2008. I had my day all planned as usual, get up early to finish grades for an online class I teach at the University of Phoenix, complete my 5th grade lesson plans, go teach Sunday School at my church, and then sing in the church choir.Complete article »

Jerry Wiesenhahn

Jerry WiesenhahnAs a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy in 1958, I’ve been educating and counseling patients about medications and health issues for 52 years – more than half a century. I, like most other pharmacists, have always tried to do what I can to not only counsel patients on their medications, but to do whatever it takes to keep people healthy.Complete article »

Jim Soderberg

Jim SoderbergSunday, January 11, 2009 started like any ordinary day. I ended my tour of duty as a firefighter in Washington, DC at 7:00 a.m. and headed home, excited that my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were in the NFL divisional finals with home-field advantage. The day progressed quickly and quietly, and took the shape of a typical day at home with my family.Complete article »

Amy Jones

Amy JonesMy name is Amy Jones. September 7, 2009 was the day my life changed forever.Complete article »

Brandon Morales

Brandon MoralesI was already in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in critical condition after having open heart surgery. The doctor informed my family that there was a chance I might not make it through the night, so they remained by my side. My father Jose was sitting in the family room having just returned from getting something to eat, when he heard the announcement "Code Blue: ICU Bed 3."Complete article »

Pamela Bonin

Pamela BoninI was the Special Events Manager at Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana. I was gearing up for the most important and exciting event of the year. At this point in my life, I am 26 year old – trying to find my way professionally and lead a balanced healthy lifestyle – having fun, working hard, running half-marathons and never thinking that my life would be changed by sudden cardiac arrest. There was not a family history of heart problems, and I have never had any symptoms.Complete article »

Ryan Arnold

Ryan ArnoldWhen Ryan Arnold woke up in a strange room with no idea how he got there, the first thing that crossed his mind also happened to be the first thing he saw just a few moments later.Complete article »

Linda Dickson

Linda DicksonFor Linda, it was a normal Thursday in March 2007, remarkable only for a nasty headache that lasted all day. It threatened to upset her church board meeting that night, but not in the manner that it eventually did.Complete article »

Stephen Johnson

Stephen JohnsonI am a paramedic who encountered one the most challenging calls of my career on May 27, 2007 at the age of 52: my own cardiac arrest.Complete article »

Kayla Donahe

Kayla DonaheTuesday, May 19, 2009: this date I will remember for the rest of my life. It was what seemed to be a normal day. I woke up at my usual time, got ready for the day and headed out the door for school. I was a 16 year-old sophomore at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. The school day, again pretty typical, ended and I headed home to get ready for my last soccer game of the season which was against my school’s biggest rival, Dowling Catholic High School. This is all that I can remember from that day.Complete article »

Gary Buscombe

Gary BuscombeIt was September 28, 2009 when I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest - my breath and heart stopping without warning. I was attending a meeting of Boy Scout Troop 26 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began answering an adult’s question about my recent vacation, when suddenly – and without warning – I collapsed onto the gymnasium floor.Complete article »

John Beechy

John BeechyI experienced cardiac arrest on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 in Salem, Oregon. I was 60. My first awareness was on the following Thursday, when I heard my wife Claudia say "you had a massive heart attack on the soccer field.” My daughters Tiffany and Kelli (living in Florida and Washington, D.C.) as well as my sister Barbara were on their way to the hospital.Complete article »

Dusten Perry

Dusten PerryA co-worker was unable to work his dealing shift at the 500 Club Casino, so I offered to cover it that night. I was dealing cards in a poker tournament, when after about 30 minutes, I began to feel different. I wasn't in pain, nor did I feel dizzy. I just didn't feel "right."Complete article »

Wayne Chamberlain

Wayne ChamberlainCleveland, OH Man Collapses at Work. Co-workers rush to help.Complete article »

Joe Moscato

Joe MoscatoA Philips employee collapses on the job and is saved by an AED.Complete article »

Paul E. Mix

By Dixie Mix

Save Date: 11/3/08 We had been walking Highland Mall on a regular schedule every week, Monday through Friday, and while walking at about 10:00 a.m. on November 3, 2008, Paul told me he didn't feel good.

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Emmanuel Negedu


Emmanuel NegeduFor nearly eight years now, Emmanuel Negedu has lived the same routine. Since coming to America from his native Nigeria, the 6-foot-7 basketball player has spent most of his days in the classroom and on the court. From Brewster Academy in New Hampshire to the University of Tennessee, the routine was a constant. Until Negedu's heart stopped beating.Complete article »

Taylor Maier

I never would have thought that the one thing I loved would become the one thing to nearly destroy me.

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Jerry Jolliff

Jerry JolliffMy name is Jerry Jolliff and I died on February 3rd, 2009. No warning, no pain, felt a little warm–that’s it. I went down for the count–let me digress. My girlfriend and I were taking a vegetable gardening course at Campbell Community Center in Campbell, California. I went outside for a smoke and a drink of water, came in, sat down, and lights out. 9-1-1 was called, but God couldn’t wait; so he sent me an angel named Kelly Hall who was disguised that night as a lifeguard at the swimming pool.Complete article »

Stephen L. Woodcock

May 2nd dawned bright and sunny in Kokomo, Indiana, and Steve thought it would be a perfect day for a bike ride. After taking his wife out for breakfast and running a few errands, Steve got on the bike and headed out. His last words were, “I’ll be home for the Derby.” Watching the Kentucky Derby is a tradition in the home of these transplanted Kentuckians.

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Dawn Botwen-Hauver

Dawn Botwen-Hauver"Ironically, I remember feeling the best I had in a long time on the morning of that fateful day," notes 41 year-old wife and mother of two, Dawn Botwen-Hauver, of Hollywood, Florida. On February 11, 2009, Dawn received a phone call from her son's school, alerting her that her five-year-old son wasn't feeling well. Little did she know how his illness would end up saving her life that very same dayComplete article »

Vince Graziano

Vince GrazianoVince Graziano knows all too well the mysterious omen of Friday the 13th. On Friday, February 13, 2009, he remembers that day started out like many others; he arrived at work shortly after heading to the gym for his daily swim. While sitting at his desk and talking to coworkers, Vince suffered SCA.Complete article »

Brian Trotter

Just six months ago I survived V-Fib and SCA. Before this happened, I had completed four marathons, the last one just four months before this happened. I was considered by most of my family and friends to be Mr. Healthy. I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't eat fast food, and I maintain a relatively healthy diet, with the occasional junk food splurges.

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Hugh Findlay

It was Friday, July 13, 2007. I was at the office working on a very difficult computer conversion of a management system involving fifteen users and three locations. I was working sending the data base to a Michigan location and then downloading the results, no mistakes allowed. I decided to break for supper and went home (my first lucky break).
We were eating dinner when I suddenly said "I'm going out!"

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Scott Hetherington

It was Friday November 30. I was at work as a firefighter at Station #7. around 3:00 pm a call came in for a structure fire with possible victims inside. On the way we could see a large dark column of smoke coming up over the tree line. We knew this was no false alarm. I don't even remember getting off of the truck just being inside with lots of fire. The next memory I have is waking up in the E.R.

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Tom Curtis

About a week before my 15th birthday, I remember waking up randomly, and noticed I couldn't breathe, my brother luckily was sleeping in my room that night because we watched a film together and fell asleep, so I was able to wake him with my last breaths, he asked my mum to ring an ambulance but she didn't believe me, she thought I was attention seeking and said go to bed, my brother thought something was definitely wrong but she wouldn't let him ring for help.

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Brian Eatmon

July 10, 2008 started like any other day. I woke up early and started getting ready for work. For the last month I have been working at Bubba Gumps in the kitchen. On this day I was assigned to work at the grill. After working for a while, I remember feeling hot and stepping away from the grill. The next thing I know I was waking up at the hospital.

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Shelly Copeland

I was able to celebrate my 33rd birthday on April 17, thanks to the quick emergency responses from several groups of people in Tampa, Florida in Hillsborough County. It all began on March 4, 2008.

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Emil Crisi

We were on vaction in Myrtle Beach, three days into the vacation, my wife, my daughter and I that night were watching the fireworks from the balcony of our hotel. I never had any chest pain, shortness of breath, arm pain, or any other symptoms.

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Genevieve Williams

At 4:00 am on May 7, 2007 I woke up with chest pain that spread out my arms and up to my jaws. I knew it wasn't indigestion so had my husband call 911 and get me an aspirin. When the EMT got there they started IV's, gave me nitro glycerin and oxygen and rushed me to the ER.

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Bill Bondar

Bill Bondar knows exactly where he died: on the sidewalk outside his house in a retirement community in southern New Jersey. It was 10:30 on the night of May 23, a Wednesday, and Bondar was 61a retired computer programmer with a cherry red Gibson bass guitar, an instrument he had first picked up around the same time as Chuck Berry.

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Evan Cameron

Six weeks before my 16th birthday, I got out of bed on an average school day, and after taking a shower, my dad informed me that school had been cancelled due to a thick layer of ice that had fallen during the night. I was already wide awake, and usually can't fall back asleep after getting up, but that day I decided to go back to bed. The last thing I remember is laying down on my bed. At that moment I went into cardiac arrest.

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Keith White

I was 52 and a father of two kids when I had my SCA at my church's 60th Anniversary Celebration Dance. I was an active Field Hockey coach and finished the week coaching my High School Field Hockey team.

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Libby Schaibly

It was my husband's 52nd birthday and I was away from home, but planned to return that day to celebrate. Instead, he had to drive 500 miles from our home in Louisiana in the middle of the night to find me revived on a ventilator in the CCU in a hospital outside Nashville, Tennessee. The poor man must have been so very afraid when he got that dreadful call at 2:00 pm.

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DuWayne Loecher

While working as a nurse in a small town clinic, it was a usual day when at 3:00 pm I collapsed at the nurse's station and had a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 47.

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Daniel W. Keizur

Friday October 6, 2006 was a special day for my wife Laurie and me. I took the day off work to go to Portland, Oregon, about 150 miles from our home to pick up a dog that we imported from Hungary. On the way home, Laurie and I stopped in the Columbia River Gorge to walk our new family member and to show her the new country that she would call home.

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Christopher Bader

On Tuesday, July 15, 2008 my 53-year-old husband fell down in front of my eyes. We were walking in the woods with our three dogs. I pulled the cell phone from his pocket, performed chest compresion-only CPR as per the newest AHA Public Service Annoucements.

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Tom Brannigan

I was at home in the evening after a day of work as a Real Estate Agent. It was a Sunday evening, I collasped in the kitchen, my wife called 911 and they advised her on how to perform CPR while the EMTs were in route to my home. Upon arrival, they used a defibrillator at least twice, possibly 3 times to get my heart beat back.

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Brian F. Pendleton

It was April 3, 2004, and I had just finished 40 minutes of heavy fighting while teaching a karate and jujitsu class at a recreation center here in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I was talking with another instructor, just a couple of old guys dripping in sweat, and started to feel faint but no chest pain and no arm pain.

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Jackie Battaglia

On May 21, 2006 my husband and I were invited to our daughters home for dinner. I had told her that there were things that needed to be done here at my house and I didn't think I would be coming but her father would come. She gave me a little bit of a hard time... and it's a good thing she did.

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Lorinda Burleson

On September 15, 2007, I had a sudden cardiac arrest. At the time, I was 47 years old, healthy, other than high blood pressure that I controlled with medication.

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John Berberick

I have a long history of heart disease. Starting at 37 years old in 1977 old when I was diagnosed with heart disease. In 1978 I suffered an M.I. In age 44 I had my first 7 vessel CABAG surgery. In 1992 an "Electro Conversion" was preformed for "Arterial Fibrillation" which only got me back into normal rhythm for a few weeks and then the AF returned and I have lived with it ever since handling it with medication.

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Mark Storace, Sr.

It was just another Tuesday afternoon in August. I am lucky enough in my job to be able to telecommute from home once a week. It was a fairly busy day taking conference call meetings and working on project tasks.

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Lewis Stokes

"How do you say 'Thank you' to those who have just saved your life?" These are the words of Lewis Stokes (Lew) of Garden Grove, California.

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Connie Snell

When her dog Shuggy went into the bedroom, the pup sensed a problem and began to howl. Connie's husband Jay came in to see what the fuss was about and he found his wife motionless on the bed, tongue out, eyes rolled back in her head with her skin beginning to take on a purplish tint.

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Lisa Herchenroether

On November 21, 2006 my husband and eight year old son drove me to the hospital because I was experiencing mild chest discomfort. En route, I went into ventricle fibrillation. In my son's own words, "I wasn't scared until I saw your head hit Daddy's shoulder, but then you started snoring."

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Mary Pakusch

On July 15, 2006, the morning of my daughter's bridal shower, I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. I don't remember anything, until about five days later when I became aware of being in the hospital.

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Jeff Bunday

Four days before my 50th birthday my golfing neighbor buddies took me out for 18 holes. We turned the golf carts in and were heading out the clubhouse door when my friend said I said "oh my God" and he turned around to see me falling to the ground.

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Darrel Arnold

One would never expect that a young, strapping man would collapse on a baseball field. Marina High School baseball coach Darrel Arnold, just 34, went into cardiac arrest.

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Stephen Johnson

On May 27, 2007, as he was working out on the treadmill at the fire station, this fire lieutenant/paramedic developed chest discomfort.
The monitor and the EKG showed he was having a heart attack.

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Ethan Miller

On July 15, 2002, Ethan and another friend were taking turns doing flips on the trampoline. When it came to Ethan's third or fourth turn, he said he didn't feel so good, turned to walk away, said "I'm going blind," and passed out.

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Charlie Miller

On the afternoon of September 19, 2002, I suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. About two minutes later, I was discovered by two co-workers...

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Ethan Middleton

Ethan Middleton was playing basketball when his heart failed and he fell to the court. He is 13.

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Dwight Mensinger

On February 2, 2004, just after 10 am, this husband and father of two suffered sudden cardiac death while in a meeting with a co-worker in his office in Fremont, Calif.

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Kelly Mealman

On March 20, 2003, 15-year-old Kelly suddenly collapsed. At first, her friends thought Kelly was just playing around. When she didn't respond to their questions, they realized Kelly was in trouble.

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Mary Lyons

Save Date: 1987
Activity: Playing softball

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Julie Lycksell

Save Date: 2/6/1998
Activity: At restaurant

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Jose Lepervanche

Age: 53
Save Date: 07/01/2007
Activity: Camping
July 1st, 2007 was a typical opening day at Woodruff Scout Reservation near Blairsville, Georgia. More than 900 scouts and 100 leaders were arriving to start a summer week full of fun activities.

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Ashleigh Lawrence

Age: 17
Save Date: 9/4/2003
Activity: Struck by lightning

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Marsha Landau

Age: 54
Save Date: 9/26/1998
Activity: On stage

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Rodney Koser

Age: 63
Save Date: 7/11/1993
Activity: At festival

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George Kinney

Age: 54
Save Date: 5/21/2003
Activity: At home

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Timmy Kiedrowski

Age: 19
Save Date: 5/2003
Activity: Playing softball

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Phil Kezele

Age: 48
Save Date: 7/7/2002
Activity: At home

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Gene Johnson

Age: 63
Save Date: 9/11/2002
Activity: At home

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Kathy Jensen

Age: 46
Save Date: 4/1/1999
Activity: At home

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Daniel Jennings

Age: 35
Save Date: 11/30/1998
Activity: In hospital

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Henry Jampel, MD

Age: 44
Save Date: 5/2000
Activity: After swimming

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Paul Huff

Age: 62
Save Date: 1/7/2004
Activity: At university

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Kelli Harris

Age: 27
Save Date:
Activity: At health club

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Mary Gyant

Age: 51
Save Date: 7/24/2003
Activity: At work

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Nick Giorgione

Age: 13
Save Date: 9/14/2001
Activity: At football practice

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Butch Gibbs

Age: 55
Save Date: 4/2/2004
Activity: At home

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Natasha Fleischman

Save Date: 01/24/02

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Karen Etheridge

Age: 40
Save Date: 9/1995
Activity: At casino

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Patrick Emmett

Age: 59

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Ron Dundon

Save Date: 02/9/03
Activity: Hockey Game

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Rodney Dudar

Age: 58
Save Date: 7/16/2002
Activity: At work

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Tracey Conway

Age: 38
Save Date: 1/21/1995
Activity: On stage

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Mike Carr

Age: 58
Save Date: 8/31/2002
Activity: At the beach

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Bob Capuano

Save Date: 09/26/03
Activity: Work

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Dick Bylund

Age: 50
Save Date: 11/04/1993
Activity: Watching his son's football game

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Charlie Butruff, Jr.

Age: 66
Save Date: 11/18/2003
Activity: At Home

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Richard Brown

Age: 57
Save Date: 11/9/2001
Activity: At health club

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Paul Beauregard

Age: 69
Save Date: 5/10/2004
Activity: At work

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Jim Baum

Age: 64
Save Date: 11/30/2003
Activity: At vacation home

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Barry Asman

Age: 38
Save Date: 3/13/1996
Activity: At work

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Ed Wilson

On January 19, 2005, at age 65, Ed was on jury duty in San Diego. He especially remembers the six block walk to the court house: he had to stop several times a block so the pain would go away from his chest and left shoulder.

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Amber Yoder

On December 6, 2002, Amber's music class was walking back to the school from a caroling field trip to downtown Kidron. As the group entered the school driveway, Amber collapsed.

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Carolyn Whitehead

Sudden Cardiac Death is unpredictable, striking anytime, anywhere, and no one is immune. Every few minutes or so this serial killer strikes down someone in the USA, as it did with Carolyn in 2002, but she was the lucky one in twenty that did not die.

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Mari Ann Wearda

July 26, 2002, was like any other day until I pulled up to a stoplight in Hampton, Iowa, and experienced sudden cardiac arrest. As I slumped over the steering wheel my car drifted across the highway, climbed the curb, knocked over a sign, and came to rest against a tree.

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Amanda Trevathan

It's hard to try to explain to people exactly what happened to me when they ask me. I was unconscious most of the time, and no one knows why it happened to me. It was totally random. No one imagined that I had a heart problem, least of all me.

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Mike Tighe

November 19, 1998, started off as a terrific day for me. A few days earlier I had submitted my request for early retirement from Boston Public Health Commission.

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Barbara Tibbitts

On November 22, 1999 my husband and I were going out to dinner. As we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, my husband reports I said, "I feel a rush." When he turned to ask me what I meant, he found me staring straight ahead.

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Mary Tappe

Mary is a 45 year old wife and mother of two. She was at work in West Des Moines where she attended a meeting on Monday afternoon, May 17, 2004. Minutes after sitting down she exhaled deeply, over-gripped her pen and then her head hit the table. She suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

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Ashley Shephard

The Hoover High School Lady Buccaneers Varsity Basketball Team were hosting Oak Mountain for the Girls Class 6A Region 6 championship. In most years, this would have been just another game on just another night. But this game was much more than that.

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Bob Schriever

Bob is a former college football official and has worked for the NFL's New England Patriots as a member of the sideline crew for 10 years. On September 14, 2002, Bob collapsed in sudden cardiac arrest while officiating a high school football game.

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Judith Schneider

On January 11, 2003, my daughters and I traveled to Webster, NY, to cheer Bethany on as she participated in the Gold Junior Olympics for USA Swim. I was in no pain and had no idea of what was about to transpire. The next 24 hours remain a complete blank.

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William Schafer

On November 2, 1999, at about 4:20 p.m. in Chicago O'Hare Airport, my wife, Ruth, and I were going to board a flight to Rome, Italy. We were using the moving sidewalk when I had a sudden cardiac arrest. Ruth stepped off the moving belt and I was thrown forward at the belt ending, technically dead.

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James Scahill

On September 21, 1999, a cold and rainy day, Jim Scahill went to a ground breaking ceremony with some colleagues. On the way back from the ceremony, he dropped dead in sudden cardiac arrest.

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Selmer Peterson

My exercise routine had been to play handball on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday afternoons, Friday evening and Sunday mornings. We were into the second game when BINGO! I was down and out, not breathing, with no pulse, my body turning lavender-blue.

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Paula Opheim

Paula was finishing her second year at Purdue University in the school of Pharmacy when she had her arrest. She began her day by waking early and jogging the half mile to the workout facility. All she remembers of that morning is getting up and putting her hair in a ponytail.

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Stan Nelson

On October 24, 2002, I was in the boarding area of United Airlines waiting for a flight to visit two of my sons and my two grandchildren who live in Southern California, when I collapsed.

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Matt Nader

Matt Nader was only seventeen on September 15, 2006, when his heart went into ventricular fibrillation during a football game.

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Kevin Mulroy

At the time of my cardiac event I was 44 years old, and on July 3, 2002, I came home from work and felt sicker than I ever had before.

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Rick Fortner

My SCA occurred in the afternoon on Friday, January 13, 1995. I was 32 years old, and it was my second anniversary at my first job as an attorney in Portland, Oregon. I collapsed around 3:30 pm, while talking to another attorney in my office.

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Dewaine Craig

After 20 minutes of easy ski climbing, Dewaine began to experience an extreme pain in the middle of his chest and shortness of breath. At first he said he thought he might have slightly pulled a muscle.

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Fred Anklam

I had been working out regularly for several years. That morning I finished a normal workout for me, primarily using an elliptical machine. Following the workout, as I stood at a computer in the corner of the room, I collapsed.

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Todd Boe

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