The 2014 Stark/Wayne Heart Walks
Kent State University at Stark on September 13th and at OARDC Secrest Arboretum Wooster on September 27th
Pictured are: left to right:
Seated - Wendy Brechbuhler, Kraig Brechbuhler, Dr. Hirsch
Standing - Alexis, Eric, Josh and Jenn - the team from Mercy
Meet Kraig Brechbuhler, a survivor of a miraculous cardiac arrest. His story starts on July 15, 2013, while training with his wife Wendy for the Columbus Marathon at the McKinley Monument. They were running ten quarter mile repeats. His wife had been keeping a tracker on her phone to see how far they had run. In the midst of the cool down walk, Kraig collapsed. Luckily, Wendy still had her phone in her hand and dialed 911 right away. She started CPR right away as well. While she was trying to resuscitate her husband Wendy started praying over Kraig. 911 was still on the phone but she was not answering, luckily a bystander came over and was able to explain to the responders what was going on and they sent a squad over right away.
When the squad arrived they shocked Kraig to resuscitate him but there was no response. Then they started CPR. They shocked him enroute with no response. The squad continued CPR as they rushed to Mercy hospital, when they arrived his heart was still not beating. Kraig went almost 40 minutes without a heartbeat. He was shocked a total of 6 times. When he arrived at Mercy he was put on a ventilator immediately. They had to do a special treatment that cooled his body to help prevent brain damage. This treatment took over a day and the waiting was a challenge for the family. They held on to the hope that Kraig would make a full recovery. Both Kraig and Wendy described the team at Mercy as such “kind and caring people” and everyone there believed in complete healing during this situation. Dr. Steven Hirsch lead a team that included staff and nurses Josh, Eric, Alexis and Jenn – all who played a critical role in Kraig’s recovery. When both Wendy and Kraig speak of their care, it is quite obvious that their gratitude is “heartfelt”. The raw emotion that shows when both share this story explains how both know how very closely Kraig brushed with death.
When asked about his thoughts on the American Heart Association, Kraig was honest and explained that he never really paid attention to it. But after this incident he believes that the American Heart Association and the Heart Walk are more important now. He understands that research played a big role in saving his life.
It has been eight months now since Kraig’s sudden Cardiac Arrest. His life is forever changed. He is a Survivor. He is feeling much better and he is working on getting back to his former life. He isn’t running yet – but he plans to. Sudden cardiac arrest steals lives, but not this time. The Brechbuhlers credit their faith, research and the superior medical care they received for the fact that Kraig is with us today to share his story.
PS – On March 17, 2014 Kraig ran his first 5K race since his cardiac arrest! Go Kraig!