MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Maple Heights woman's daughter suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest and her heart stopped beating for 12 minutes. She was miraculously revived, and now the mother is on a mission to make sure no parent has to go through the heartache she experienced.
Tracy Clark told News 5 that she watched her daughter, Illissa, collapse and initially thought she only passed out. But then she was gone. For 12 minutes, her daughter didn’t have a heartbeat. Then EMS responded and found a shallow pulse.
Illissa was taken to a nearby hospital and spent the next 36 hours in a coma. At first, doctors told Tracy that they weren’t sure what happened.
“They just know that my electrical system is off,” Illissa explained.
She left the hospital with an implanted defibrillator. It’s there to shock her heart if it ever stops beating again.
Illissa said she’s not sure how it came to this.
“No prior drug history, no alcohol, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t do anything,” Illissa said.
Eventually, doctors learned she was suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest— a condition that, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, causes the heart to suddenly and unexpectedly stop beating.
The Heart Rhythm Society states that more than 350,000 people die each year as a result of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The condition claims a life every two minutes—more than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS.
Tracy is now working to have an Automated External Defibrillator put in every workplace. There isn’t an Ohio law that makes having an AED a workplace requirement. Putting them there is Tracy’s new mission.
Tracy and Illissa are hosting an event called Bowling for Beats to raise money to purchase and donate an AED to a local business. Each AED runs about $1,300. The hope is that they can eventually put an AED in every Northeast Ohio business.
The event—Bowling for Beats—is this Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. at The Lanes Bowling Alley, 21400 Southgate Park Blvd., in Maple Heights. Tickets are $20 and the cost covers shoes, food, CPR training and an AED presentation.