This blog was noted by interviews from Jenna Coleman and her mother, Kathy Golden, a victim and rescuer of cardiac arrest.
“The only thought running through my head was to keep Jenna alive until help arrived,” recounted Jenna’s mother, Kathy Golden. “I recalled the training I had in CPR and quickly went through the steps I was taught. I was not going to let my child die.”
Cardiac arrests occur when the heart suddenly stops beating. Each year, over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital and about 90 percent of victims don’t survive. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival, according to the American Heart Association. The two steps to Hands-Only CPR are to call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that) and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
“I woke up to my mom screaming at me,” says Jenna as she looks back on the day she went into cardiac arrest.
On January 1, 1999, Jenna Coleman woke up with the stomach flu. Her body had been used to the flu-like symptoms, as she has had a pacemaker since she was 9 years old and would typically deal with illness around the same time of year. Nothing seemed unordinary, until she lost consciousness.
When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. As of April 2019, only about 46% percent of bystanders perform CPR. Most out of hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home – about 70%. Nearly 45 percent of out of hospital cardiac arrest victims survived when bystander CPR was administered.
“As a mother, losing your child is the worst possible thing that could happen. I realized that knowing CPR and knowing what to do saved my child’s life,” said Kathy. “Trust your instincts and training. CPR works and you can save a life.”
Since the incident, Jenna and her mom have made it a point to advocate for a healthy living style. They both are actively involved in volunteering at their local American Heart Association office, participating and raising funds for events like Kids Healthy Heart Challenge and Heart Walk, and they are consistently learning and teaching the benefits of Hands-Only CPR. The importance of being healthy, maintaining exercise and being CPR trained has became second nature for the whole family.
“People can improve their health by just making one small change. Those small changes can add up over time and make a huge impact on your overall health. Instead of drastically changing your diet, try switching to whole grains and reducing your sodium intake. Switch from soda or diet-soda to water or sparkling water,” suggests Jenna. “Small changes can make a huge impact to keep you heart healthy for good!”