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For more information on CPR, visit the North Georgia Heart Foundation at pulseoftomorrow.org.
FORSYTH COUNTY — Two people who bonded in the aftermath of his cardiac arrest at Buford Highway and Trammel Road and her life-saving CPR efforts said they have made it their mission to teach CPR to as many people as possible.
Monday night, they kept their word.
Darryl Bagwell and Carrie Stone held a CPR training class in the Chattahoochee River Club subdivision’s clubhouse for a room of about 40 people who had heard about their story, which Bagwell calls divine intervention.
Bagwell was crossing the intersection on Dec. 29 when he fell off his bicycle.
About a minute later, Stone happened to be driving through the busy crossing. A nurse at Northside Hospital-Forsyth, she pulled over and began chest compressions on Bagwell.
Those few minutes of getting the residual oxygen in his blood pumping was enough to give him the chance he needed before paramedics arrived.
“The response time nationwide is around six minutes for EMT to arrive,” Bagwell said. “Even if it doesn’t work, you can say I did everything I could do, and I tried to give that person a chance.”
In his recovery, Bagwell and Stone have banded together to teach people the basic knowledge she had to save his life.
The class, and future ones they intend to hold, does not give an official certification. However, they said, people don’t need the certificate to do chest compressions.
Stone and George Ordway with the North Georgia Heart Foundation demonstrated how to pump on the chest on adults and children and how hard the pumps need to be.
“My ribs still hurt,” Bagwell noted.
They handed out materials and CPR masks, letting the audience practice on mannequins.
Bagwell said there are three keys to an informal, but sufficient, knowledge of CPR.
“First of all, is the knowledge of what to do, which is to get on the chest hard and fast. Number two is having the confidence that you can make a difference,” he said. “And that’s not easy.
“That’s probably the hardest part. But now you know if you’ve listened to Carrie and you’ve listened to these other professionals that you can pump on the chest.”
The third component is having the willingness to act, he said.
“Carrie was on the way to the vet with her dogs. She could have easily said, ‘Somebody else can take care of this.’ She was not that kind of person,” he said. “You need to be the kind of person that Carrie is and was.”
He said he is overwhelmed by the support and the feedback he has received since people learned of his fall, from which he is expected to make a full recovery.
“I can’t wrap my arms around it, if you will. And it’s not just this group, or what Carrie has done,” he said. “When I was in the hospital and friends and people were coming by … Words cannot express how it’s made me feel, the gratitude I feel toward these people and how good it makes me feel to be alive.”
Online editor Jim Dean contributed to this story.