Hi all, can’t believe we are already almost one month into 2018. Crazy how time flies. In A Heartbeat had a big month to start off the year, now we are just figuring out how to sustain it and keep it going…I guess that’s the challenge with any business…
I am dedicating this blog post to exclusively sharing a very special event I went to this past Saturday in New York City. A couple of years ago I got connected with the Babbit Family. They have an organization called The John Taylor Babbit Foundation which was named in honor of their son John who died from sudden cardiac arrest.
John’s story and my story are very similar. He was a high school basketball player and if you looked at him you would have never thought he had something wrong with his heart (just like me). Well, he did. He had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (like me) and didn’t know it (also like me). He suffered his cardiac arrest while playing in a high school basketball game. There was an AED there but NO ONE KNEW HOW TO USE IT, which infuriates me.
The John Taylor Babbit Foundation has the same mission as In A Heartbeat and that is to prevent death from sudden cardiac arrest and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. On Saturday, I had the honor of not only attending, but speaking at their annual Babbit Ball which brings in over 500 guests!
I was at a loss for words at the start of this event. If there were 500 people in the room, there were 400 young professionals from the New York/New Jersey area with a connection to John or someone in his family. It was truly incredible to see the support from a community that suffered a tragic loss.
Honestly, at times it was hard talking to people because John and I were so similar. I just got lucky. I survived and he didn’t. Obviously, people didn’t look at me with any sense of being mad or upset that John didn’t have the same luck I had, but that is how I felt.
The speakers were John’s brother Andrew and me. Andrew started off by thanking everyone for coming and those who made the event possible. He then introduced me. I told my story but made sure the crowd understood why they were there and that was to help prevent death from sudden cardiac arrest. I encouraged everyone at the event and I encourage everyone reading this blog post to get trained in CPR and how to use an AED. When I had my cardiac arrest, I had people close to me (my dad, friend, and brother) who watched helplessly because they weren’t trained. They couldn’t do anything but hope someone else knew what to do. I encourage everyone to get trained so that if a family member, a friend, a colleague, or someone on the street goes into cardiac arrest, you don’t have that same helpless feeling.
After speaking, Andrew wrapped it up with a recollection of the phone call he got when his brother was being rushed to the hospital. I had to put my head down so people didn’t see me cry. It was chilling to hear, how as just a freshman in high school, while doing his geometry homework, he got a call that his brother was being rushed to the hospital. He thought it was a broken leg or something of that nature. Unfortunately, it was much worse.
Following the speeches, I gave Andrew a hug and then gave his parents a hug. Although I had just met Mrs. Babbit in person a couple of months ago and Andrew and Mr. Babbit earlier that afternoon it truly felt like we were family. I couldn’t have felt closer to them in that moment.
The John Taylor Babbit Foundation has done a tremendous amount of work since its founding and I aspire to hopefully one day have In A Heartbeat make an impact in the world of sudden cardiac arrest like they have. I know that without their work, I might not have gotten so lucky the day of my cardiac arrest. It is because of them; more people are trained and more people are aware of what to do if an emergency happens.
I am not quite sure I will ever forget this night for the rest of my life and I know for sure I will never miss another Babbit Ball as long as they occur!
What a night……