Sign in to My HQ

The 2014 Lebanon County Heart Walk

Sunday, September 28, 2014


My name is Maria Umberger. I am 47 years old. This year, I suffered a heart attack. I would like to tell you my story.

On August 8, 2013 at approximately 8:07 a.m., I arrived at work at Jonestown Bank, late, I might add, as I was already not having a good day. At 8:10, I went into the vault to retrieve my drawer to begin working. I was helping my second customer when at 8:18, I collapsed without any warning to my co-workers, the customer I was attending, or myself.

At first, I appeared to be breathing, but I made more of a gurgling or snoring-like sound. Shortly before the ambulance arrived at 8:27—within 9 minutes of the 911 call—my co-workers realized that I was no longer breathing. Unfortunately, no one inside the bank knew CPR and could administer it to help me. We would learn later that I went approximately four minutes without oxygen.

Once EMS began to work on me, they quickly realized that I was not just suffering from a fainting spell. They began to act fast and subsequently had to shock me three times to regain a heartbeat.

At 8:45 a.m., I was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital for treatment. I had suffered a serious cardiac event and was put into a hypothermic paralytic state. This was necessary to minimize any brain damage I may have suffered as a result of my fall and the lack of oxygen for an extended period of time.

Thanks to the care I received at the Good Samaritan Hospital and the work of the American Heart Association, I am here to share my story with you today. I am one of the lucky ones. More than 450 people suffer from cardiac arrest every day—only 8% will survive. Survival rates can double, possibly triple, if CPR is received from a bystander. Currently only 32% of individuals needing CPR receive it. There still remains much work to be done. I am happy to report that everyone in my bank branch, and in nearly all other branches, has now been trained in Hands Only CPR. It is so very important that we continue to educate ourselves and others about this lifesaving tool. If telling my story can move just one person to learn the basics of CPR, my message will have been worthwhile.

I lost a week of my life to a heart attack, and much of my story has been told to me or viewed on video footage from work. A week worth of lost memories is well worth the gift of life I have received.

This is where I thank you for your past contributions to the American Heart Association, and ask you to “Open Your Heart” to help us further advance the lifesaving work of this wonderful organization. Any individual making a donation in the amount of $250 will receive their very own “CPR Anytime Kit”, delivered personally to your door. Adult/Child and Infant Kits are available and teach basic CPR skills in just 20 short minutes. Kits can then be shared with family and friends so additional individuals are reached.

It is my hope that through this effort, fathers and mothers will be at their children’s weddings, be able to hold their grandchildren someday, and to be around for their family’s important life events. I look forward to all of these things with my family and daughter, and am so grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Thank you,
Maria & Neil Umberger
2014 Open Your Heart Chairs

The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation's No.1 and No.4 killers, claim more than 813,804 American lives a year. Thanks to all our walkers, donors and volunteers who have accepted the challenge to help fight heart disease and stroke. We cannot achieve our mission without each one of you!

Why We Walk

My Life Check Assessment

Be Healthier

Help Files

Special Thanks to:
TE Connectivity Logo