Every year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests take place in the U.S. in locations outside of the hospital. Two years ago, a Leawood, Kansas resident became part of that statistic. Now she's taking her traumatic experience and turning it into a teaching opportunity.
What began as a simple night out with her husband, soon turned into a nightmare for Nancy Holland and her family.
"We had gone to dinner with some very good friends, and once the salad was served, I took a couple of bites, pushed the salad over to my husband and said I'll be right back," Nancy Holland, a cardiac arrest survivor, said.
The two were with their friends at Carma, a now-closed restaurant in Leawood, when Holland went into cardiac arrest in the ladies room.
"Immediately, just went down to the floor, no pulse, no breathing, heart stopped," Nancy Holland said.
"My world obviously had stopped,” said Jim Holland, Nancy's Husband.
"We see all these red lights going outside and don't think anything of it, a few more minutes goes by and there’s more red lights out there and still, it's not even crossing my mind that this could be for Nancy," said Jim Holland.
A woman inside the restroom alerted the restaurant manager who immediately began performing CPR until paramedics arrived with an AED (an Automated External Defibrillator).
"Had he not done what he did, I mean, my family wouldn't be here," said Jim Holland.
Nancy said it was 25 year-old Richmond Carson’s mother who made him go through CPR training. Nancy and her family couldn’t be more grateful that she did.
"Words will never be able to convey what he means to me," said Jim Holland.
"I don't think I would be here right now, they say for every moment that goes by that your heart has stopped, that for every minute there's a 10% chance that you don't make it," said Nancy Holland.
Time is of the essence in situations like Nancy’s.
"CPR is what makes the person salvageable until the AED gets there," said Jim Holland.
That’s why the pair has made it their mission to spread the importance of training and education.
"It's kind of like life insurance, you hope to god you'll never need it but if you need it, you'll be glad it’s there," said Jim Holland.
The law firm of Fisher & Phillips, where Jim works has installed AED's in its 32 offices nationwide. They’ve also offered training to its 700 employees and advocates for other companies to follow.
"One of those people is going to need to use that CPR to save somebody and if that one person saves somebody, they're saving somebody's family, just like Richmond saved mine," said Jim Holland.
Nancy Holland is now a board member of the Johnson County HeartSafe Foundation. They provide free training in hands-only CPR and work to improve public access to AED's.