Marathon runner survives cardiac arrest

A friend in need, they say, is a friend indeed. No one knows that better than Daphne Hodgins of Tsawwassen, BC. Daphne’s friends literally brought her back to life.
Daphne Hodgins

At 45, Daphne seemed healthy. The mother of three ate well and exercised regularly, often heading out on early morning runs with friends. It was on one of those runs that she collapsed without warning

Within seconds, one of her running mates, who happened to be a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) instructor, was searching for Daphne’s vital signs. Unable to find a pulse, she started chest compressions right away. She kept Daphne alive long enough for paramedics to restart her heart.

A cardiac arrest can occur at any time, at any age. It happens nearly 35,000 times a year in Canada. Only five per cent of people survive a cardiac arrest when it occurs outside of a hospital. But when bystanders step up to perform CPR in combination with an automated external defibrillator (AED), the likelihood of survival doubles.

Every 7 minutes in Canada someone dies from heart disease or stroke.

Daphne is alive today because of her quick-thinking companions and because of donors like you. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is Canada’s leader in resuscitation science, translating the latest research findings into guidelines relied on by healthcare and first aid professionals throughout North America. 

An update to those guidelines in 2015 stressed the importance of equipping everyday Canadians with the knowledge and skills to perform CPR, among other changes.

Also in 2015, the Foundation partnered with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to fund research that will improve cardiac arrest survival rates. Together the organizations pledged $3 million over five years to the Canadian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (CanROC). This research initiative, with sites across Canada, will investigate new resuscitation drugs, tools and techniques, plus ways to make ordinary Canadians more aware and more willing to perform CPR.

Most critical of all is the CPR training made possible by Foundation donors. In 2015 your support meant that 289,000 clinicians, first responders and other professionals upgraded or learned new skills, and another 221,000 lay rescuers and ordinary Canadians learned to save a life with CPR and an AED.

Daphne Hodgins is one of them. She has become a CPR advocate. Her story inspired her community to organize CPR and first-aid courses. In the weeks following her cardiac arrest, Daphne began rebuilding her strength, eventually beginning to run again. She has since run a marathon.

“I feel so grateful not only to the friends that I was with, but the first responders, the hospital, the doctors, and everyone along the way that put things into place so I could still be here,” she says. “There are other people who aren’t so fortunate. Every single day I think about it.”