When someone goes into cardiac arrest, death can occur within minutes if they don’t promptly receive treatment. Fortunately for the 11 patients at the FDNY’s 23rd annual Second Chance Ceremony, first responders were able to save their lives within those crucial minutes of cardiac arrest. Not only did they get a second chance at life, but it was also a chance for them to thank their heroes.
"We're very invested in our patients when we're out there trying to help individuals," first responder Jeremy Summerville told FOX 5 TV in New York. "And it's not very often that we know the outcome of the jobs that we face."
Andrene Bowes, 33, suffered a cardiac arrest episode while riding a subway train with her son. "You don't know how precious life is until you almost don't have it," Bowes said. "And then I think about my son growing up without a mom. Every day I'm thankful. I pray for these people and I'm so happy I got to meet them. I shouldn’t be here, but here I am today."
"We're thrilled to meet her again under better circumstances," Michael Demarco, a first responder, said.
Michael Allen, 54, was working a basketball game when he collapsed. This opportunity to meet the first responders who saved his life was very special to him. "When you go through the situation that I've gone through, you start to realize that they're a little bit more than the average person. They're my heroes."
Ashley Newman, 32, was rehearsing with her dance group, The Chase Brock Experience, when she fell to the ground. According to the NY Daily News, her fellow dancers received instructions from an FDNY dispatcher and immediately performed CPR until help arrived.
All 11 survivors ages 2 to 84 had different stories, but one thing was constant -- Their appreciation for the first responders who saved their lives.
According to the American Heart Association, Over 320,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States. By performing Hands-Only CPR to the beat of the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive,” you can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival.
Watch the video to see the reunion with first responders.