Because there are so few survivors to tell their stories and encourage others to assess their own risk factors, most people are unaware of the danger sudden cardiac death can pose until it strikes close to home. Such was the case for Steve Gootter’s family and friends. It was unimaginable to them that Steve, a vivacious individual in the prime of his life, could lose his life instantly and with no warning. This loss motivated Steve’s family and friends to establish the Steven M. Gootter Foundation with the objective of sparing others the tragedy of losing a loved one to sudden cardiac death.

Hear stories from sudden cardiac arrest survivors.

The use of an AED and Chest Compression Only CPR can save the life of a sudden cardiac arrest victim. Following are several survivor stories.

Rob Charles

survivoraedpage“I’m Rob Charles. I am a 53-year old husband, lawyer, tennis player and father of three. I am a genuine sudden cardiac death survivor. It’s a miracle that I am alive today, given the remote odds I faced on the tennis court last November. But to me, it’s more than a miracle. I am standing here today as the result of luck and skill. Luck, because those who responded were trained in chest compression only CPR and the use of an AED. As a result of the extraordinary care at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, I have made a full recovery.

Now I have the opportunity to continue to enjoy the love of my wife and children. I am back at work practicing law, and back playing tennis. The Gootter Foundation has made sudden cardiac death their cause. Beyond the direct research funding they give to the UA Sarver Heart Center, they have taken their cause into our community, placing AED’s where we work, worship and play. The results of their work and efforts are immeasurable. The impact that they will have will be felt for generations.”

Brian Duffield

“The work being done by the Gootter Foundation and the UA Sarver Heart Center are instrumental to understanding this phenomenon and saving more lives in the future. As a victim of the disease and a recipient of the outstanding care at the Sarver Heart Center, I can truly say the work has paid off. I likely suffered the same event as Steve, but was in the right place. At my normal swimming work-out one morning, I got out early and collapsed in the shower. Through a series of incredibly fortunate events, I’m here with you today. There’s no question that the UA Sarver Heart Center and the work of The Gootter Foundation saved my life. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!”

John Helenbolt

“I was playing basketball at the Salvation Army when early in the 2nd game, my heart went into ventricular fibrillation. I was lucky to playing with a 3rd year resident from UMC, Shaun Stevenson, and a friend, Garrett Abeyta, who immediately started CPR. The fire station was about 4 blocks away and the Heart Hospital about a 3 minute drive. I was in a coma for 3 days, but awoke with no physical or mental damage thanks to my event happening at just the right place and time.”

Lindsay Luke

“Surviving a SCD event is HARD. Don’t ever allow someone to tell you otherwise. You are entering into a word as a completely different person. You may still have some characteristics, some mannerisms which are the same but you are NOT the same and a SCD event is your second chance to get it right. You have been given another chance at life, don’t waste it. A higher force has allowed you to survive granting you the opportunity to make things right within your own world, give your husband a second chance, teach your children to love their lives and stop every now and again to smell the flowers and become consumed by the beautiful things in this world. Live ever breath as though it is you last. As a SCD survivor, you did draw your last breath but for some unknown reason you were allowed to come back from death. Really live your life and don’t allow the small things to get you down”.