SHAWNEE, Kan — During Heart Disease Awareness Month, one local woman is sharing the importance of knowing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, also known as CPR, when you least expect it.
Three years ago, Vickie Franck went on a road trip with her husband, Dan, to do a recording for a musical band.
Franck said it was a normal morning, but suddenly something seemed off.
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“I thought I heard a sound," Franck said. "So I got up and checked on him and found him leaning over onto the counter and he looked kind of gray.”
Having 39 years of nursing experience, Franck quickly noticed something was off.
“I will not forget the look — his eyes were just glassed over," she said. "It was extremely frightening, and I would say that for just a few brief moments, the reality of it was very terrifying.”
At that moment she knew her husband was having a cardiac arrest. That's when she quickly began performing CPR. Franck said it's a skill that saved her husband's life.
"I'll be honest, even though I have this skill, to see my husband, who's my partner in life, laying there lifeless, was very terrifying," said Franck. "I was crying, I was calling out to God to help me.”
As February marks Heart Disease Awareness Month, organizations like The American Heart Association are pushing for more people to learn CPR.
“We have to know enough. You don't have to be a professional to know hands-only CPR. That's a huge push for us as the American Heart Association," said Angie Galindo, senior vice president for the American Heart Association.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
According to the AHA, nearly 90% of people that have a cardiac arrest out of a hospital setting don't survive.
“There's no discrimination," Galindo said. "It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter how old you are. You never want to be in a situation where you don't feel confident to save your loved one's life."
Galindo said knowing this instrumental skill will not only help save countless of lives, but also prepare you for tragedies like Franck experienced.
"Vicky — she's a professional, she is a trained nurse, and the majority of us aren't," Galindo said. "And with out of hospital cardiac arrest being 90% of deaths, we have to know enough.”
If you would like to learn more about the American Heart Association, you can check out their website for more information.