Thanks to modern medical equipment and a quick-thinking paramedic, a St. Albert man’s life was saved during a heart attack. Simon Hoskyn, 27, a University of Alberta law student, is repaying the community with a free concert on Friday at Next Christian Community.
And he’s given it a very apt moniker – Thankful Hearts: A One-Year Cardiac Arrest Anniversary Music Party.
Playing backup in the Simon Hoskyn Band are wife Marney Elzen-Hoskyn (keyboard/vocals), Ben McNab (drums) and Trevor Irvine (bass). The evening’s special guests are St. Albert’s Nathan Carroll and Brock Tyler.
“It’s a landmark year for me and it’s a chance to express my gratitude to people who supported me through this and it’s a chance to be thankful to God for my life. Basically, it’s going to be fun, light and we want people to enjoy it,” says Hoskyn, who is also a father of two children.
His story began exactly a year ago on Nov. 2. The lanky weekend warrior was playing a game of pickup basketball with friends at Servus Credit Union Place when his legs gave out and he collapsed into cardiac arrest.
“I slammed my face on the floor and also had a concussion. I was 26 at the time with no family history, no indicators of a heart attack. My friends didn’t know what to do. An off-duty paramedic playing soccer applied CPR and shocked my heart with a defibrillator,” explains Hoskyn. He was in cardiac arrest for up to 10 minutes.
“The doctors induced a coma for several days to give the brain time to reduce the swelling. No one knew if I would live or die, if I would be severely handicapped or have a mental disability.”
When he finally opened his eyes, Hoskyn recognized his wife. Over the next week, he was given a complete battery of tests.
“They came up with nothing.”
To avert future attacks, surgeons inserted an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). The ICD is a small-battery-powered electrical generator “about the size of a pack of smokes.” The generator is implanted in patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac death. It detects abnormal heart rhythms and corrects them by delivering a jolt of electricity.
While Hoskyn formerly believed in Jesus Christ, he now has complete faith in miracles.
“It’s so bizarre. The chances are astronomical I would collapse and the chances are more astronomical I would come out of it without brain damage. Something like this causes you to slow down and enjoy life.”
But Hoskyn has never quite believed in living life slowly. By the time he was 15, the Vancouver-raised musician was the frontman and main singer-songwriter for the punk metal band JustStayCalm.
But by 2004 he went solo as an acoustic folk singer releasing his first full-length album Arrest Me. Hopping on a plane, he worked as a professional busker in New Zealand and released his second album The Seen and Unseen in 2006.
That same year he moved to Edmonton, studying guitar at Grant MacEwan for a year and joined the rock band Illfit Outfit. After touching down on numerous stages in Canada and the United States, Hoskyn recorded his third full-length album Sing of the Beauty, Say Nothing of the Pain (2009).
Over the years, diverse singer-songwriters from Bruce Cockburn, Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright to Arcade Fire, Feist and the Beatles, have influenced and inspired him.
But it all started with Cockburn.
“I ended up with one of his CDs from my older brother. At the time I played it, I felt I was struck by a lightning bolt. There was a transcendence in his music I admire. He’s not afraid to sing about life’s mysteries. His lyrics, his exploration of life and nature – I found those things inspiring, meaningful and profound. He puts his heart out there.”
This statement, interestingly enough, also defines Hoskyn.
The Friday night concert will have a bit of rock slant interspersed with quieter acoustic sets. Childcare is provided for infants and toddlers, and coffee and treats will be served.
Next Christian Community is located across Village Landing Transit Centre.
For more information visit www.simonhoskyn.com.
Thankful Hearts: A One-Year Cardiac Arrest Anniversary Music Party
Simon Hoskyn and Simon Hoskyn Band
With special guests Nathan Carroll and Brock Tyler.
Friday, Nov. 2 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Next Christian Community
#490 – 140 St. Albert Trail