One year ago, almost to the day, one of my best friends and college fraternity brother, Rick Worrel, collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest 50 yards from the finish line of a 5K race. By the grace of God, he was running alongside a doctor who immediately started performing hands-only CPR. Other bystanders worked for approximately 15 minutes to keep blood flowing throughout Rick’s body until the ambulance and other EMTs arrived. Special thanks go to Jack Uhrig, Bryan Rice, Rob Herrik and Jeff Rohr, who without any hesitation, put their “hands-only” CPR training to use on May 14, 2016, and saved Rick’s life.
Rick is now dedicated to sharing his story and doing what he can to raise awareness about CPR and CPR training. Lailan and I know we need to attend a training session as soon as possible. We realize one never quite knows what situation you might be in, and the least we can do is be as prepared as possible. We will keep you posted on our training event in case you’d like to attend with us.
Survival rates can drastically improve when CPR is administered. In Rick’s case (no heartbeat for 15 minutes), the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest is below five percent. However, when Hands-Only CPR is administered quickly, the survival rate increases 4-5 times. That’s reason enough to attend a training session. If you’re interested, click here to watch a short video on how to perform Hands-Only CPR.
In addition, much of the cardiac research funding in Kansas City comes from American Heart Association fundraising efforts. They have a Heart Walk/Run on May 20 starting at the Power & Light District. Information on that and other AHA programs can be found here. According to American Heart Association Executive Vice President, Kevin Harker, “There are 395,000 cases of cardiac arrest each year – unfortunately, only 6% of survive. Rick’s amazing story demonstrates just how effective hands-only CPR is when performed immediately and continuously. There are just two steps to remember: 1) call 911, and 2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest. We tell people to think of the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive” to know how fast to push. That’s all you should remember and you can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. When you think about the fact that 70% of cardiac arrests happen in homes, the likelihood is that the person you save will be someone you love.”
Rick’s miraculous story has a great update. Just last week, after almost a year, Rick finished the run with his daughter, Brooke, who had been running with him a year earlier. After the run Rick said, “This was perhaps the longest completion time ever for a 5K, but today I crossed the PurpleStrideKC 2017 finish line in a time of 51 weeks and 30 minutes. It was a little surreal. I didn’t run the entire race today, but it meant a lot to finish the last 50 yards from last year with Brooke.”
Congrats, Rick, on finishing the race, being an inspiration to so many, and passionately motivating all of us to get trained on hands-only CPR. For more information, check out this KSHB-TV interview of Rick and Susan Worrel.