STORIES

of

SURVIVAL

Learn about the success stories of young lives saved from Sudden Cardiac Arrest thanks to early detection of a heart condition through screening, and stories of those who suffered SCA and recovered because the appropriate actions through the cardiac chain of survival were taken to save their lives.

Alexis Archer

Alexis Archer

Alexis Archer - Stories of Survival

Alexis, age 10, collapsed in the pickup line at school.  CPR was started and the school nurse arrived to take over.  An AED was retrieved and a shock was advised.  Alexis arrived at Children’s Hospital emergency room, and though she was unresponsive, she had a normal brain CT.  She began to slowly respond to the nurses and doctors.  Alexis was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome and received an implanted defibrillator.

Kyle Baiocchi

Kyle Baiocchi

Kyle Baiocchi - Stories of Survival

Katelyn & Jake Baker

Katelyn & Jake Baker

Katelyn Jake Baker - Stories of Survival

Spencer Best

Spencer Best

Spencer Best - Stories of Survival

On September 9, 2012, Spencer, an otherwise healthy 16 year old, went to a basketball workout in his high school gym. Thirty minutes later, he collapsed…his heart stopped. Because of the actions of his coach, another adult and medical first responders, Spencer was able to survive his cardiac arrest, and have another chance at life. Two days later Spencer had an ICD implanted. He is working his way back to being active, and looks forward to a return to the baseball field next Spring. The cause of his sudden cardiac arrest remains unknown.

Brittney Bielecki

Brittney Bielecki

Brittney Bielecki - Stories of Survival

Brittany’s life was saved from sudden cardiac arrest on October 11, 2006, while playing volleyball. The quick thinking of her coaches and the use of an AED restored her heartbeat. Brittney’s diagnosis is Long QT Syndrome. She has been shocked once since having her ICD implanted.

Zachary Bowman

Zachary Bowman

Zachary Bowman - Stories of Survival

Zachary, age 15, was running track while training for the ROTC when he suddenly collapsed. The school nurse and a police officer saw him and performed CPR within 2 minutes. He went to the hospital in Martinsburg, West Virginia and was then airlifted to Washington, D.C. Children’s National Medical Center and received an ICD seven days later.

Drew Brantley

Drew Brantley

Drew Brantley - Stories of Survival

On February 17, 2010, Drew collapsed at school during a basketball game. A teacher, school officer, and two school nurses performed CPR and used an AED on Drew. He was shocked four times and survived only because his school was very well prepared. Drew has made full recovery and will be playing college baseball next year. The cause of his sudden cardiac arrest is unknown.

Brian Brunson

Brian Brunson

Brian Brunson - Stories of Survival

Joshua Bryant

Joshua Bryant

Joshua Bryant - Stories of Survival

On May 3, 2014, Joshua, age 15, and his family were driving home from dinner at a restaurant when he said he felt dizzy. When they pulled over, he lost consciousness and was unresponsive. The first responders worked on him and shocked him once with an AED. He was taken to the hospital and placed in a medically induced coma for three days. He received an ICD and was discharged after 11 days at the hospital. The underlying cause of Joshua’s cardiac arrest is unknown. Genetic testing results did not identify a cause.

Jamie Burns

Jamie Burns

Jamie Burns - Stories of Survival

Kayla Burt

Kayla Burt

Kayla Burt2 - Stories of Survival

Kayla was 20 years old and a student-athlete when she suffered sudden cardiac arrest. In 2002, during New Year’s Eve dinner and celebration at home with her teammates, Kayla collapsed on her bed. Her teammates administered CPR until paramedics arrived 4 minutes later to use an AED. Kayla was in a 15 hour coma and later had an ICD implanted. The cause of her cardiac arrest is still unknown. Her device fired once during a basketball game nearly 5 years ago, but has since had no problems.

Mycah Carson

Mycah Carson

Mycah Carson - Stories of Survival

Carrigan & Carter Chiaventone

Carrigan & Carter Chiaventone

Carrigan Carter Chiaventone - Stories of Survival

Carrigan and Carter’s story began in 2010, while trying to treat unexplained abdominal pain in Carrigan, then 12 years old. Over the course of a year Carrigan had every possible gastrointestinal (GI) test imaginable, all having negative results. Almost a year later her parents decided to seek treatment with a pain clinic; their recommendation was to put her on a medication. Standard practice prior to beginning the medication was to have an EKG. Carrigan’s EKG indicated that she had Long QT syndrome (LQTS). Her pain stopped within weeks of starting on a beta blocker. Carrigan and her brother Carter have since had genetic testing and both tested positive for LQTS1.

Sam Cockrell

Sam Cockrell

Sam Cockrell - Stories of Survival

On May 15, 2013, Sam, a 16 year old avid triathlete, suffered SCA during swim practice. Because of the quick actions from bystanders who witnessed the event and performed early CPR and defibrillation with an AED, Sam’s life was saved. At the hospital, Sam was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD) and implanted with an ICD.

Spencer Craft

Spencer Craft

Spencer Craft - Stories of Survival

Griffin Crowder

Griffin Crowder

Griffin Crowder - Stories of Survival

Mike Daggy

Mike Daggy

Mike Daggy - Stories of Survival

Mike collapsed during class in December, 2005. The school athletic director administered CPR, and the EMS used medications and applied defibrillation. Mike had gone approximately 20 minutes without oxygen. When taken to the hospital, a cutting-edge hypothermia treatment was used to immediately lower Mike’s core body temperature. It slows down the internal system to prevent damage. He was on a respirator for five days and did not wake up from a coma for a week. His chance of surviving without serious brain damage was very low. But when Mike awoke, brain function was normal. He now has an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), but the cause of his sudden cardiac arrest is still unknown.

Tyler Deary

Tyler Deary

Tyler Deary - Stories of Survival

For two years, Tyler experienced chest pain, palpitations and shortness of breath while being misdiagnosed. Finally, he saw an electrophysiologist who made a diagnosis of Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), and had surgery in January, 2006. Tyler wants to help his community understand sudden cardiac arrest.

Kasandra Dengate

Kasandra Dengate

Kasandra Dengate - Stories of Survival

On January 27, 2010, Kasandra suffered sudden cardiac arrest at age 16 while sleeping. She appeared healthy and had no prior symptoms. Kasandra survived thanks to her family’s quick thinking of administering CPR and the paramedics use of an AED. Upon arrival at the hospital she was immediately cooled to help prevent brain damage and put on an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine. While in the hospital, she also suffered from a TIA stroke due to a blood clot that formed. The cause of Kasandra’s sudden cardiac arrest was Long QT syndrome. Kasandra received and ICD and spent about a month in the hospital before being able to return home.

Kasandra’s diagnosis led to potentially saving her sister’s life. The doctors now believe that Long QT syndrome is what caused her mother’s death at the age of 26 years old.

Natasha Dengate

Natasha Dengate

Natasha Dengate - Stories of Survival

Natasha was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome after her 16 year old sister suffered sudden cardiac arrest while sleeping. The doctors now believe that Long QT syndrome is what caused her mother’s death at the age of 26 years old.

Natasha and her sister embrace the opportunity to raise awareness of SCA, the importance of AEDs and helping give others a second chance at life.

James Dolan

James Dolan

James Dolan - Stories of Survival

On January 27, 2011, James, a healthy 15 year old high school football player left the house to shovel snow with his friends. Shortly thereafter one of his friends came in the house and alerted his father that James had collapsed on the driveway and something was wrong. His mother immediately called 9-1-1, while his father ran outside to find him unresponsive and groaning. He quickly began rescue breaths and chest compressions. The police arrived within minutes and were equipped with an AED. They administered a shock and James was taken to the hospital where an ICD was implanted. James is alive today because of the fast actions of his friends, family and the Monmouth Beach Police Department. His family is forever grateful and will do whatever they can to help prevent SCA from taking another child.

Claire Dunlap

Claire Dunlap

Claire Dunlap - Stories of Survival

On April 15, 2009, 15-year-old Claire had just finished a high school softball game when she suddenly fell backwards and seemed to be having a seizure. The trainer for the school started CPR after she lost consciousness. An off-duty firefighter came over and told the trainer to get the AED, which started Claire’s heart beating again. An ambulance arrived about seven minutes later and transported her to the hospital where she remained in ICU for five days.

Doctors placed had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in Claire’s chest. The underlying condition that caused her SCA is unknown.

On March 15, 2012, Claire passed out while chatting with her college professor. Her heart rate raced enough to trigger a shock from her ICD. The underlying condition of her SCA remains unknown.

Grace Firestone

Grace Firestone

Grace Firestone - Stories of Survival

Story Coming Soon!

Kaitlin Forbes

Kaitlin Forbes

Kaitlin Forbes - Stories of Survival

On May 11, 2005, Kaitlin suffered sudden cardiac arrest at age 15, while playing softball during gym class at school. She was revived by CPR and the use of an AED. The medical results showed that Kaitlin suffered from myocarditis brought on by a cold. The infection was identified as mycoplasma, otherwise known as walking pneumonia. Kaitlin now has a pacemaker due to an “electrical block”.

Xhosa Fray-Chinn

Xhosa Fray-Chinn

Xhosa Fray Chinn - Stories of Survival

In July 2012, Xhosa, age 17, suffered cardiac arrest while playing basketball at a school.. His father immediately performed CPR and the school’s AED was retrieved and used to restart Xhosa’s heart. He has since had an ICD implanted. Doctors believe the cause of Xhosa’s cardiac arrest was Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), however the genetic test for HCM came back negative.

Kyle Frith

Kyle Frith

Kyle Frith - Stories of Survival

Kyle appears athletic and a healthy young man, however his body looks are deceiving. Within his body lies a silent killer, it is known as Arrythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD). In March of 2010, the autopsy report of Kyle’s uncle revealed that he died of ARVD. We’ve suffered the loss of an aunt and uncle to this disease. His parents were instructed to have the family genetically tested to see if they carried this genetic marker. On August 1, 2010 an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator was installed in his chest wall to possibly prevent him from sudden cardiac death. Kyle’s grandmother, mother, and brother are also affected by the condition.

Brianne Gagg

Brianne Gagg

Brianne Gagg - Stories of Survival

Michaela Gagne

Michaela Gagne

Michaela was a three-sport varsity athlete, participating in basketball, soccer and track and field. During her senior year, she was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, a genetic cardiac condition that is especially dangerous for athletes because of the way it causes a response to stress on the heart. She then had an ICD implanted.

Michaela’s experience with Long QT Syndrome and ICD therapy, combined with an exemplary positive outlook on life, has made her an enthusiastic advocate for education about heart disease.

Alex Gorczany

Alex Gorczany

Alex Gorczany - Stories of Survival

Alex was 12 years old when parents took him to the pediatrician for a routine examination.  His pediatrician became concerned after hearing an abnormal heart beat.  He was referred to a pediatric cardiologist who after a series of tests, diagnosed Alex with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome.  During his ablation it was found that the WPW pathway was benign but SVC was found further into the heart.  Alex considers himself fortunate and wants to pay it forward.

Zach Harper

Zach Harper

Zach Harper - Stories of Survival

16-year-old Zach suffered cardiac arrest during class in October, 2009. The availability of an AED and the actions of the school nurse saved his life. After spending two weeks in the hospital, it was determined that his arrest was caused by a virus. Since coming home, Zach has returned to school and opened a savings account to collect donations. These donations will provide AEDs, training and education to local non-profit organizations that otherwise would not have the funding for them. He is expected to make a complete recovery.

Bree Haus

Bree Haus

Bree Haus - Stories of Survival

Kalani Huggins

Kalani Huggins

Kalani Huggins - Stories of Survival

Luke Jones

Luke Jones

Luke Jones - Stories of Survival

Erica Kasper

Erica Kasper

Erica Kasper - Stories of Survival

Matt Keene

Matt Keene

Matt Keene - Stories of Survival

On October 18, 2006, as a routine football practice was winding up, Matt collapsed on the field after suffering sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). His heart had stopped, and he had no pulse. Thanks to the quick response of those at the scene and the hospital’s medical staff, Matt survived.

Critical to his survival was the successful implementation of what is known as “the chain of survival” – an immediate call to 911, early CPR, early defibrillation and immediate transport to an advance-care facility. Matt is on a mission to make sure that others who experience sudden cardiac arrest have the same advantage for survival as he had, including ready access to an AED.

Ryan Kessler

Ryan Kessler

Ryan Kessler - Stories of Survival

Ryan, age 18, was looking at the moon with his father when he suddenly collapsed.  His older brother performed CPR while waiting for EMS to arrive.  The first responders shocked him several times before taking him to the hospital where he received hypothermia treatment and was put into a medically induced coma for several days.  After being rewarmed, Ryan woke up and eventually had an ICD implanted.  He has since graduated from high school and gone on to college.  The underlying cause of his cardiac arrest is unknown and genetic testing has not identified the cause.

Kaden Kupietz

Kaden Kupietz

Kaden Kupietz - Stories of Survival

Gabrielle Lebalori

Gabrielle Lebalori

Gabrielle Lebalori - Stories of Survival

Zach Lucas

Zach Lucas

Zach Lucas - Stories of Survival

Zach, age 18, had just completed his first college baseball game when he went into cardiac arrest. Athletic trainers gave him CPR and used an AED and his heart was shocked into a normal rhythm. All tests were normal and no cause for the arrest has been identified. He has since received an ICD and returned to college and baseball.

Gregory Mazurek

Gregory Mazurek

Gregory Mazurek - Stories of Survival

At 25, Gregory was diagnosed with symptomatic Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW) after having continuous, horrible symptoms over the course of several months. The diagnosis explained many earlier, previously unexplained episodes in his childhood. After two surgeries from a first-class medical team, he was successfully cured of the disorder and now in the best shape of his life.

Tiffany McAdams

Tiffany McAdams

Tiffany McAdams - Stories of Survival

Tommy McClenahan

Tommy McClenahan

Tommy McClenahan - Stories of Survival

Kaitlyn McClew

Kaitlyn McClew

Kaitlyn McClew - Stories of Survival

Matt Nader

Matt Nader

Matt Nader - Stories of Survival

Matt collapsed during a football game in September 2006. His mother performed CPR as he laid on the track, but the use of an automated external defibrillator saved his life. After determining that he had experienced an arrhythmia, a defibrillator was implanted in Matt’s chest. Although Matt had to give up the game he loves, he expects football will play a big role in his future, and he looks forward to seizing the opportunity he has been given.

Savanna Noe

Savanna Noe

Savanna Noe - Stories of Survival

Savanna, age 14, suffered cardiac arrest on July 29, 2012, while in the family’s swimming pool. Her father, who was also in the pool, noticed something was wrong and kept her head above the water while screaming for help. Savanna’s mother came running and helped pull her out of the pool. Savanna’s sister called 911. Their neighbor, an off duty fireman, heard the call on his scanner and quickly responded while EMS arrived. An ICD was installed in Savanna’s chest before leaving the hospital.

Kevin Oill

Kevin Oill

Kevin Oill - Stories of Survival

Coming Soon – Kevin’s story!

Teddy Okerstrom

Teddy Okerstrom

Teddy Okerstrom - Stories of Survival

16-year-old Teddy collapsed on June 16, 2009, while participating in a summer football conditioning program. The team was running light sprints when he collapsed. One of his coaches dispatched others to call 911 and retrieve the AED, while he immediately started CPR. The AED was rushed to the field, where coaches and others continued CPR until the ambulance arrived. This level-headed thinking and quick action saved Teddy’s life.

To date, all tests have been normal or negative, including genetic testing for CPVT. Teddy now has an ICD.

Scott Olson

Scott Olson

Scott Olson - Stories of Survival

Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer - Stories of Survival

At the age of 16, Michael was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (cor-triatriatum). It was discovered during a pre-particpation physical for basketball, and required open heart surgery to repair. During follow-up visits with his doctor, Michael was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, then later with a second degree heart block. He had cryo-ablation and now lives a normal life with an implanted pacemaker.

Mike Papale

Mike Papale

Mike Papale - Stories of Survival

Mike was 17 when he finished his basketball workout, then went to basketball camp to teach younger kids when he slumped over on a bench. His heart had a very irregular beat, and he stopped breathing. The camp directors called 911. Emergency personnel arrived immediately and performed CPR. When the ambulance arrived with an AED it was used to restore Mike’s heart to a normal rhythm. After being transported to the hospital, he was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Mike received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), and was told he would never be able to play competitive basketball again. Despite having to change many parts of his life, he feels very fortunate to be alive.

FOR PARENTS OF A CHILD WHO HAS SURVIVED SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST OR IS LIVING WITH A HEART CONDITION

Though surviving Sudden Cardiac Arrest or living with a heart condition is an outcome to celebrate, many youth and their families are overwhelmed by the trauma of the experience and appreciate the opportunity to connect with others who share this unique perspective. We invite you to reach out to Parent Heart Watch for support or to share your story.