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FSU Graduate and Tallahassee Native Survives Cardiac Arrest, Preaches Importance of CPR

FSU graduate and Tallahassee native survives cardiac arrest, preaches importance of CPR

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Cardiac arrest can be a killer. For people it strikes outside of a hospital, it almost always is.

According to the American Heart Association, almost 90 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest don't survive.

However, immediate CPR can help, and a 27-year-old Tallahassee native is living proof.

"I just remember it being black, it was cold, and all I could hear was my mom and dad speaking to me," Brittany Williams recalls.

A moment, fleeting, like a heartbeat. Both, gone in an instant. But some, can seem to last forever.

"[We were] Just pleading, 'Brittany, don't leave us, we love you, stay with us,'" Brittany’s mom, Vicki, remembers.

It's a moment the Williams will never forget.

"December 6th, 2014 is when my life changed forever," Brittany states.

The FSU graduate was 24 at the time.

"I ran about five miles a day, I ate very healthy. I was just a workout warrior," she explained.

She and her family were taking their annual holiday trip to New York City.

They were about to watch the Noles play in the ACC title game.


"Within two minutes of getting into the restaurant, my parents thought I was having a seizure, they were hitting me on the face, there was no response," Brittany says.

Brittany was in cardiac arrest.

"We were in shock because everything had been normal to that point, having a great time. Then, next thing I know, my child's been laid down on the floor and she doesn't have a pulse," Vicki recalls.

Her heart malfunctioned and stopped beating.

The American Heart Association reports 350,00 cases every year like Brittany's.

Around 35,000 survive.

However, CPR can double, even triple a person's chances.

It's why Brittany is still alive today.

"Two eye doctors, what are the odds?" Brittany says.

They happened to be in the restaurant, and started CPR right away, knowing the every moment counts.

“Everybody was in the right place at the right time. The two doctors that were at that restaurant came forward, paramedics showed up, used an AED to shock her heart back into rhythm. As bad as it looked at that time, I just had a calmness come over me and I knew that she was going to be alright," Vicki said.

Brittany spent the next two weeks in the hospital, and was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome; a genetic disorder that increases risk of an irregular heartbeat.

It's something she'll live with forever.

"Defibrillator and pacemaker. I actually go to the doctor every six months,” Brittany says.

Brittany, and her family, have also learned CPR, and are constantly stressing the need for others to learn too.

“She has used this as a platform to help everybody," Vicki said, proudly.

The Williams' know it could save a life, know it could mean more precious moments.

"Every day I get to see her is like a gift. Every day I get to talk to her on the phone is like a gift," Vicki says.

A gift that they’ll cherish forever.

Also to note: Brittany said about four days before the incident, she lost feeling on the left side of her body. She knows, now, that was a warning sign.

She reminds people. if something feels wrong, get checked out. Even if it's nothing, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Story Credit: http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/FSU-graduate-and-Tallahassee-native-survives-cardiac-arrest-preaches-importance-of-CPR-475707073.html