CPR saves man’s life after heart stops during race

FALCON, Colo. — It started like any other half-marathon in Key West, Florida in early January, but it was a life-changing one for Bill Amirault.

“There was one corner and the finish line was right around that corner. I couldn’t see it from where I was,” Bill said.

Bill had been pushing himself for the last five miles.

“I went to a bystander on the side, just tapped him on the arm and said I was going to faint. And then went to a knee and went and laid down, and then I blacked out,” Bill said.

“And then all of the sudden you hear people screaming for a medic,” said Becky Amirault, Bill’s wife.

Bill’s heart had stopped.

His wife was 50 feet from the finish line when bystanders rushed to her husband’s side, performing CPR.

Later, Bill posted a video on social media thanking the bystanders for saving his life. That’s how he found them.

“Those first three, or four, or five minutes that I was down, having that CPR being done at that point was life saving, potentially brain damage saving,” Bill said.

“It was a miracle that when it happened he had the people there with the skill set to help him,” Becky said.

Doctors are still looking into what caused his heart to stop, but for now, Bill’s living with a defibrillator in his chest. It will jump-start his heart if it stops again.

“Our perspective is different. You never look at life the same. We know every day is a blessing. Bill calls this, he’s on bonus time,” Becky said.

The Amiraults are planning to meet the people who helped saved Bill’s life at next year’s half-marathon in Key West. They also plan on getting CPR certified as soon as Bill is able.

>> To learn more on how you can get CPR certified, click here.

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