A Beaumont man received a second chance at life thanks to the heroic efforts of a St. Albert teen and others during a recent Busby Jamboree event.
Seventy-six-year-old John Lessard was on stage performing April 23 when he suffered a cardiac arrest, caused from an old injury to his heart 25 years ago. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, several people sprang into action including Dollie Lauder, Lin Ryan and 16-year-old Annie Roy.
“I got to give glory to God for that because had it not happened here, had it happened in a car somewhere or alone somewhere, I would have never made it,” said Lessard in an interview at the jamboree May 28. “The miracle of it all is that it happened in this place at Busby at the time it happened because all the right people were around me and I got help immediately.”
Lauder and Ryan went on stage and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while Roy immediately called 9-1-1 and stepped up to help with the automated external defibrillator (AED) that was at the Busby Community Hall.
“Sometimes we get a second chance and we should make the best of it and live our life in a way that glorifies God. Be charitable to people and nice to people,” said Lessard, noting he was rushed to the Westlock Healthcare Centre via ambulance and later that evening was sent to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton where he spent 10 days.
“They did a check on my heart an all my veins were clear. They said the only thing that happened was an old damaged area on my heart started to quiver and threw my heart out of sync and it stopped,” explained Lessard, noting he was given a pacemaker. “They said I should be alright for another 25, 30 years so I’ll be close to 110 by then,” he said with a loud chuckle.
Roy was one of several people that stepped up to help save Lessard’s life that day and as a young teen who remained calm and focused in an emergency situation, members with the Busby Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD), Alberta Health Services, Apex Training Solutions and the Busby Jamboree held a special ceremony May 28 to thank her.
“I knew what to do. There was an AED there … I put the pads on him and listened to what the machine said,” said Roy. “I did my best but I feel like I didn’t do that much. You never know what’s going to happen so it’s better to be safe than sorry and know what to do.”
Roy, a Grade 11 student at Ecole Alexendre Tache School in St. Albert, previously took the Apex intermediate First Aid, CPR/AED Level C course in school that she credits with helping her know what to do in an emergency situation. It was the first time she has ever had to put those skills into use.
During the May 28 presentation, Roy received accolades for her outstanding efforts that day, including a citizen recognition award from Alberta Health Services, a certificate of achievement from Apex Training Solutions and a certificate of recognition from the BVFD.
Assistant BVFD fire chief and paramedic Dean Dumbeck said he has seen a lot of cardiac arrests throughout his career and "what happened here in Busby just goes to show what can happen when you have the right people in the right place at the right time.”
“It all comes together to have an outcome like this,” said Dumbeck.