Heather MacKenzie walks in her neighborhood with her family
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
A mother is being honored for her efforts to try to save a neighbor using CPR, and her following mission to encourage everyone to learn the life-saving skill.
Saturday the Overland Park, KS, mother will be given the Heart Saver award for helping her neighbor, and giving he and his family unforgettable time together.
"My daughter and I went to the mailbox, and I saw a neighbor who had been mowing the lawn on the ground," Heather MacKenzie said.
It was something that might stop some people in their tracks, seeing a friend and neighbor in full cardiac arrest, but MacKenzie, once a lifeguard, sprang into immediate action.
"I rushed to his side and saw he had no pulse, and he was not breathing and I called 911 and started CPR," she said.
When emergency crews arrived they took over, and were able to revive the man. The damage already done was critical and the man passed away several days later, but because of MacKenzie he was surrounded by family and friends, who had a chance to say goodbye.
"It's traumatic and I still feel all kinds of emotion, but I feel fortunate, I have CPR training and I didn't feel helpless and his family was able to be by his side," MacKenzie said.
The ordeal lit a fire under MacKenzie, and she sent out an e-mail to friends and neighbors encouraging them to learn CPR. Saturday at least a dozen people will take a class with Training Officer Buck Heath, and by the time he is finished there will be that many more people able to save a life.
"As long as you can push on a chest, you can save a life," Heath said.
Teaching others CPR gets Heath excited.
Overland Park has one of the highest save rates in the country, because more often than not, when emergency crews get on the scene, someone is already doing chest compressions and the critical minutes before they arrive oftentimes means the difference between life and death.
Heath said it takes no time at all to get the knowledge needed to help.
"You would know how to do CPR in the first 30 minutes, after that it's all practice, practice, practice," he said.
If you would like to learn CPR call 913-888-6066 for more information.
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