Shannon Chamizo, Hawaii
My name is Shannon Chamizo. I’m a 39-year-old, single mom to two teenaged boys. On Feb. 26, 2010 I suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest in our apartment, witnessed by my sons who at the time were ages 16 and 12. I complained I was extremely tired and decided to nap on a couch near them where they were playing video games. From their testimony, I started breathing funny, stood up and passed out. I was unresponsive, foaming at the mouth, eyes rolled back and turning purple. My eldest son, Alston, called 9-1-1 and followed the EMS dispatcher’s instructions to perform CPR on me while my youngest son, Avery, went outside to direct first responders to us. I was taken to a nearby hospital at which time I received surgery to open the blockage in my heart with a stent. I remained in a coma for several days. I suffered some neurological damage resulting mainly in memory loss. My children and I were very traumatized by this event which could have easily resulted in my death, but by the grace of God, my sons were able to remain calm & respond with efficiency. Not just once but twice.
On April 10 of this year I suffered a second heart attack. While getting ready for bed I started experiencing chest pain which spread up my neck into my jaw, and felt nauseous. I lay in bed gripping my chest softly calling for my boys. Alston (now 19) heard me and started to assist by asking if I took my aspirin & nitroglycerine spray. He quickly sprayed the nitroglycerine, started assessing the situation and ordered Avery (now 15) to call 9-1-1. Avery had recently learned CPR in high school thanks to the American Heart Association’s current policy efforts to mandate that training in all high schools. Avery spoke with the 9-1-1 dispatcher while Alston cared for me until first responders were able to take over. Alston rode in the ambulance to the hospital with me. At the hospital I received another stent. Because of my sons I'm here to share our story and to share in many new memories.
I am very appreciative of the American Heart Association’s work to improve patients’ quality of care and heart attack systems of care. I also strongly support its policy efforts to insure that all sons and daughters graduate from high school with CPR training so that they might be prepared to save their loved ones. As a You’re The Cure advocate, I hope that our story will make a difference in convincing Hawaii’s policy makers to insure that is achieved.