It’s odd how, in life, we bump into people we knew long ago or who we could have known if we’d strayed a bit outside of our circles. For one man, it was a life-saving encounter in Florida that introduced him to one of his Canadian neighbors.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Tom Reddon hails from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. However, at the time of this story, he was staying in Indian Rocks Beach, a small city near St. Petersburg, Florida.
Now more than a few Canadians make their way down to Florida during the cold winter months, but not so many that you’d expect to bump into them left and right on the street. But that’s exactly what happened to Reddon, and it ended up saving his life.
For Reddon, jogging with a friend on April 4 became a blur. He explained that he remembers going for a warm-up walk.
However, the next thing that he can recall is waking up in the hospital. There’s a good reason for that.
Reddon experienced cardiac arrest during the run. As he lay on the ground, his life ebbing away, the friend and a couple of passers-by began desperately searching for anyone who knew CPR.
They finally found someone: Sandy MacNeill. While MacNeill had trained in the lifesaving procedure, he’d never actually performed it.
“Tom didn’t have a pulse, so I just made sure somebody had called 911 and then continued to give CPR until we heard the sirens and the fire trucks showed up,” MacNeill said. “It seemed to take forever, but also, you know, time was just flying by.”
MacNeill described the moment as being subsumed in “a blur of adrenalin.” Soon enough, first responders arrived.
They were able to get his heart beating again, and then they loaded him up into the ambulance. “I said goodbye to him, not knowing how this was going to turn out, ’cause he was unconscious at the time,” Arseneau said.
Fortunately, Reddon made it safely into and through surgery. Once the proverbial dust had settled, the two men reconnected.
Reddon’s wife later posted photos to Facebook, detailing the meet-up and how thankful they were for MacNeill being at the right place at the right time.
As they all conversed, though, they learned a startling fact.
Both Reddon and MacNeill were from Fredericton. “It’s freaky,” Reddon said.
Indeed, it is. But the truly amazing thing is that he survived at all.
“For my type of [cardiac] arrest, the success rate is not very high, so to have somebody there to immediately call 911, to do CPR and to have a hospital close by … and to have cardiac surgeons on hand to fix me up, I mean, it’s amazing that everything fell together so well for me,” he said.
Indeed, Tom, you truly are blessed. And your experience is a reminder about the importance of all of us learning CPR.
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