“You can’t leave me here. I’m too young to be a widow. You can’t go,” Jan Durkalski pleaded. Her husband John had just collapsed during a Sunday morning run and was struggling to breath.
Then, his breathing stopped. So did his heart.
Jan and John were on a run together in the Cleveland Metroparks when John suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed. Jan had just renewed her cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification the day before, and the instructions were fresh in her mind when she began CPR on John.
“I never had to do live CPR before. I just did it in class,” Jan explained. “I walked away thinking ‘I’ll never have to do this.’ ”
Hear Jan and John tell the story in their own words by watching the video on our YouTube Channel.
It’s National CPR/AED Awareness Week and we are urging everyone to get trained on how to perform CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) so they can help during an emergency situation.
Many people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before getting to a hospital so every second counts. For every minute without defibrillation, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of surviving drops. It is critical for as many people as possible to be trained to perform CPR and know how to use an AED until advanced help arrives.
Interested in getting trained? Find information on Red Cross classes here. Last year, nearly 50,000 people in Northeast Ohio enrolled in Red Cross first aid/CPR/AED classes.
“Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of thousands of people in this country every year,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO. “National CPR/AED Awareness Week is the perfect time for people to get trained and help increase a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.”
John Durkalski not only survived, he is thriving. He ran the 10K race at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in May, and plans to continue running. “40 years and one heart attack. Why quit now?”
You can download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest, at your fingertips. Download by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.