Bryce Schilling was just steps from the finish line of the Cowtown Marathon in May when he went into cardiac arrest.
“I remember the finish line being right there. And then it was gone,” Schilling said.
Today, he’s alive thanks to people like John Sims, a registered nurse who jumped into action when Schilling collapsed.
“I can’t emphasize that enough, that just starting chest compressions can be the difference in whether someone survives or does not survive,” said Sims, director of SaferCare Texas at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
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On Sunday, Schilling was reunited with the people who saved his life. The 27-year-old Lubbock man met them at the spot that marked the official finish line for the marathon.
He was presented with a banner that said "survivor," which had been signed by the doctors, nurses, MedStar paramedics and others who helped rescue him.
"If it wasn't for y'all here, then I wouldn't be standing here today," Schilling said through tears.
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Dr. Justin Martin, an interventional cardiologist at Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth, praised the first responders who helped restart Schilling's heart.
“All the work had been done by the time he arrived at the hospital, so he was awake and talking, coherent, and his vital signs were stable. He was breathing on his own,” Martin said.
The second chance at life made Schilling realize he wanted to share it with his girlfriend. He proposed Saturday and she said yes.
Schilling also said the Cowtown was his first — and last — marathon. He now plans to get certified in CPR.