Meet Tony Lindeman, an Advocate on a Mission to Save Lives

In 2012, during his 8th marathon, Tony Lindeman failed to cross the finish line.  He was in great health, and at mile number 2 of the Akron Marathon, went into sudden cardiac arrest. There was no warning, no prior symptoms, he just dropped.  Running near him were a couple of nurses who saw him collapse and swiftly started CPR.  Paramedics arrived 10 minutes later and shocked him back to life.

hero_image_alt_text===Tony Lindeman
thumbnail_alt_text===Tony Lindeman

Tony learned there was no explanation for what happened except that he had a strong heart before the race and a strong heart after.  He had no blocked arteries, and no family history of heart problems.  But his heart had an electrical problem that fateful day that caused cardiac arrest.  Since then, doctors have implanted a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) which will shock his heart back into rhythm should he go into ventricular fibrillation again.

While on the mend, Tony educated himself on cardiac arrest and learned around 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home and only about 9 percent of the people survive.  However, if a person in cardiac arrest receives immediate CPR they double or triple the chance of surviving.  Yet, 70 percent of Americans do not know, or are uncomfortable with, CPR.  It was clear to him that more people needed to be ready to deliver CPR. 

Then Tony learned of another story, this time of a construction worker that came into contact with a live electrical wire and was unresponsive.   A nearby bike shop employee came to see what was happening, realized the man needed CPR and after learning no one else nearby knew it, using the knowledge he learned in school started CPR. That day, his actions saved the man’s life.  That’s when Tony knew he needed to use his voice for change and make sure CPR was taught in Ohio schools. 

Tony’s advocate journey began.  He called his state representative and learned Representative Grossman was working on a bill to make sure all students learned CPR before graduation.  For the next few years, he worked alongside the American Heart Association and Representative Grossman advocating for House Bill 113.  It was on June 14, 2016, when Governor Kasich signed that bill into law.  Tony knew his actions had made an impact.

Tony’s work is far from over.  He was saddened to learn that despite the law, students still were not learning CPR because schools didn’t have the resources they needed for instruction.  So now, he is passionately talking with lawmakers about providing adequate funding so schools can teach CPR.

In thinking about what he has been able to accomplish, Tony told us, “Working to pass the CPR bill with the AHA was a positive and rewarding experience.  Along the way, the AHA made me feel like part of their team and helped me prepare my part of this successful advocacy campaign.”

Tony knows learning CPR may be the most important thing anyone could learn in school because when confronted with having to begin CPR, the life being saved might be the life of a friend, a family member, a teacher, a coach, or a guy running a marathon. 

This month we salute Tony Lindeman for using his voice to make change happen and save lives.  Thank you, Tony, for being part of You’re the Cure and the relentless force for longer, healthier lives.

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