GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – One minute Kelsey DeWindt is a perfectly healthy Grand Valley State University student, the next, paramedics are performing CPR and trying to start her heart again.
On Tuesday night, at Peppinos in downtown Grand Rapids, the family that nearly lost their daughter attempted to say thanks to those who saved her life.
They were invited to celebrate the fact that Kelsey is with them.
“I remember things I did, but I don’t remember any of that day,” said Kelsey.
On January 16th, at the Wood Bar in Grand Rapids, Kelsey was walking into friends birthday party when her heart stopped.
“She was actually in mid-sentence when she fell over,” said her mom, Lisa DeWindt.
Paramedics were called, but they had no idea what they were responding to.
Eric Daniels was one of the first responders to arrive, getting there within three minutes.
“When we got there we found it wasn’t a fall, she was in cardiac arrest,” said Daniels.
They begin CPR and get her heart started again with a defibrillator.
Daniels says they arrived just in time, “There is about a four to five minute window where damage kicks in.”
The next eight days are spent in the hospital. Paramedics say the survival rate of her condition is 5% at best.
When she comes to, the only damage is short term memory loss.
Kelsey has an I-C-D, or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, implanted in her heart to keep it beating regularly.
“It was hard at first, getting used to the device they put in me, but now it’s starting to feel more normal,” said Kelsey.
Normal is the best news her parents could get, so to show their appreciation they invited everyone responsible for Kelsey’s recovery out to celebrate.
“How do you thank the people that saved your daughter’s life?” said Lisa.
Daniels said getting to talk with Kelsey in this setting is more than they ever ask for.
“This is why I do what I do,” said Daniels, “for that once chance to help someone.”