Colorado Springs, CO — There’s never a good time to have a heart attack, but one Colorado man is glad that he had his while running a marathon in Key West, Florida.
“I’ve been in the keys many times over the years, and I’ve run at least six marathons. This was the first one in a while, so I was looking forward to it,” Bill Amirault explains.
He was in Key West January 15th to run the half marathon. His wife, Becky, ran the 5k with a friend and was waiting at the finish line when she heard screams for a medic.
“I got this kind of sick feeling,” she says. “‘Could that be Bill?'”
Her intuition was right.
“As I rounded the corner right before the finish line, I just started getting tunnel vision,” Bill remembers. “It happened very quick. I didn’t have any chest pain.”
Help was literally steps away.
“There was a cardiac nurse, there was medical personnel that worked in cath labs… Very specific functions,” he goes on.
Lisa Vos was on of them: a registered nurse used to much younger patients.
“CPR for me is usually done in a hospital on babies because I work in labor and delivery,” Lisa clarifies. “This is the first adult male patient I’ve had in probably 30 years.”
One of the paramedics in the ambulance was calling Becky as Bill was transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center. He was later airlifted to Mt. Sinai.
Becky prayed, “You just gave him to me, don’t take him away. We had just gotten married in September, but we’d known each other for 12 years.”
Doctors found an irregular heartbeat and decided to implant a defibrillator.
Still in the hospital, the man who lived in South Florida for decades before moving to Colorado Springs turned to Facebook to find his lifesavers.
“There were at least one or two, maybe more, bystanders performing CPR on me which ultimately saved my life,” Bill shared in a video posted to Facebook.”
More than eight hundred thousand views later, they found four of them: two from South Florida, one from Illinois, and one from Maryland.
Bill was amazed. “Just the power of people sharing a positive message was incredible.”
The Amiraults use the same word to describe the race that could have brought new meaning.
“The fact that he is able to sit here and talk to us and be out of the hospital in less than a week… It’s a miracle,” Becky surmises.
Bill agrees. “It was a blessing. It was a miracle. It was the right people in the right place a the right time.”