You're Forever Connected to Him

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't look at my wife and my five kids, and know that I could have been dead eight years ago."

Those frank words are from someone you're forever connected to. His name is Ken Mathys. He's a firefighter. And survivor - thanks to you.

Your past donation to one of our fundraising events supported three specific activities – CPR training, automated external defibrillator (AED) advocacy, and research that led to diagnostic and treatment breakthroughs -- that saved Ken's life on a fateful day in 2006.

Please give a donation that will keep families together after heart disease threatens to tear them apart.

Let me explain how you helped save Ken's life and keep his family together.

Ken, his wife Tanya, and their five kids were in the car, getting ready to head home from out-of-town soccer games. Earlier that day, he had chest pains. Alarming, yes, but he'd had them before and doctors said he was fine. He probably would have had them checked out again, just to be sure...

...But Ken stopped breathing. His eyes rolled back in his head. He was foaming at the mouth.

Thankfully, Tanya was armed with the knowledge from CPR classes, something that the AHA teaches across the country. She knew what was happening and what to do.

First, get him out of the car…and lay him on the pavement. Their oldest son, 14 at the time, helped.

For 14 1/2 minutes Tanya did CPR on her husband. As she was on the ground with him, she looked up.

All five kids were watching their dad die. But he didn't. Because you were there.

Donate today to help save lives and keep families together

Thanks to CPR training, Tanya kept Ken's heart going until the ambulance arrived. The ambulance was equipped with an AED (automated external defibrillator) something that the AHA advocates strongly for. They're very accurate at identifying a heart that needs a shock, and very easy to use. It got Ken's heart converted over.

At the hospital, he had an angiogram to find out what was wrong. Five days later, Ken had open heart surgery to correct the 99% blockage.

Ken is living proof that your gift today to the American Heart Association will save a life, and keep families together after heart disease threatens to tear them apart.

Will you help us continue to save the lives of people like Ken?

Once in a while, life gives us the chance to do something extraordinary. Take that chance today.

The AHA Team

P.S. We call the coordinated series of events that saved Ken's life the Chain of Survival. This refers to everything from the CPR classes Tanya took all the way to open heart surgery. That chain really begins with you, so make it strong! Make a gift right now.