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Honoring Heart & Stroke Heroes

March 29, 2011, 6:10 PM by Kelli Grant

Honoring Heart & Stroke Heroes
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Every single day, a life is saved thanks to CPR or an AED. And the American Heart Association is often behind those efforts.

It's why heart and stroke heroes were honored for their saves and service in the community.

It's people like Rochelle Lauret and Mary Wilson or Jeremy Aylward and Chrissy Spoo that give their time to make a difference in your life every single day.

They're just a few of those who were honored by the American Heart Association as a heart and stroke hero.

“You know, we always hear that cancer's the number one killer. People always say, 'My wife died of breast cancer,' and they try to relate to that. But in South Dakota, we lose six people every single day due to cardiovascular disease and stroke. So it's a large, alarming figure that these individuals who we're honoring today really help bring that awareness out,” Addie Graham-Kramer with the American Heart Association said.

It's an honor Dan Sudbeck graciously gave the two women who saved his life. Sudbeck's heart stopped during halftime at a basketball game. It's appreciation this referee never thought he'd have.

“I thought someday, maybe a guy would need it. But I didn't quite think it would be me at this particular point because I'm still pretty active in a lot of things and I always thought my health was pretty good. Apparently, I missed the ball on that one,” Sudbeck said.

Honorees like Kathy Haack say the award is bittersweet.

“He collapsed at home, I did CPR. The ambulance arrived and when the ambulance got there he was awake,” Haack said.

Haack has been volunteering for the American Heart Association since 1979, not only training the public but nurses and physicians on how to administer life-saving tools like CPR.

Unfortunately her skills were put to the test last month, when her husband suffered a heart attack.

“I'm very glad that my brain was able to kick in, in place of my heart, and be able to do the CPR and that he was awake so that Mike was able to talk to him before they took him to the cath lab,” Haack said.

Sadly, her husband's heart was damaged beyond repair and he died. But Haack knows an award like this means there are others out there that are just as determined to try and save a life.

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