At 42 years old, Sharell Weeams' heart stopped on the dance floor.
Weeams is part of the West Coast Swing dance community in DFW. She says she and her dancing partners have become a true family and now she's crediting them for bringing her back to life.
Weeams collapsed while dancing on Nov. 5. She said she remembers seeing a wave of blackness before she told her partner she felt dizzy and bent over. Her partner caught her as she fell.
Three other dancers ran to her aid: Allie Herrera, Nickie Taylor and Natasha Veal. All three are nurses. They immediately began CPR when they could not detect Weeams pulse.
"Allie's like, Nickie, start CPR. And I was like starting chest compressions. And that's when I kind of went out of dance mode into my ER nurse mode," Taylor explained.
"And she was like, who's gonna breathe for her and I was like I am," said Veal, describing her effort to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The women said they did CPR and used an AED for roughly 10 minutes while waiting on paramedics.
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"Anytime I see my cardiologist, he looks at me, he's just like, you're a miracle and you need to thank your friends. The reason why I can, like, I have my full capacity ability, physically and mentally is because they acted fast," said Weeams.
Taylor formed a group called Swing Saves Lives and they held an event that raised money for life-saving medical equipment for their studio and events on the road.
The women are encouraging people to learn CPR, ask questions about family medical history and the signs of heart disease and to take proper medications and remain active if you know you are at risk.
Weeams says several of her relatives have had heart surgery and suffered heart attacks. Her father died after going into cardiac arrest at 42 years old. She says she knew she had high cholesterol but thought she could make enough changes to get off of her medication. She admits she made some mistakes and is opening up about her story to encourage others to take their health seriously.
"I'm open with people and say, like, look, I messed up, you know, I missed some of the signs that I should have listened to, I should have gone to the doctor sooner, I didn't always prescribe, you know, refill my prescription, you know, fast enough," she said. "During the pandemic, I was sedentary, you know, I sat on my butt for a good year without doing any form of exercise. And that's where I really feel like things kind of accelerated. So I'm really talking to people about all of the mistakes and things that I made so that hopefully they don't have to make it."
Each day during February, Weeams has shared resources, educational materials and parts of her story through social media. You can see her posts here.
To learn more about heart health and the signs of heart attack and stroke, read more here.