PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People often ask me if I keep in touch with the medical students who gave me CPR when I suffered cardiac arrest back in 2011.
The answer is yes. They are now doctors in Los Angeles.
Vanessa is an ER doctor at UCLA, and Ranmal, a neurologist.
This weekend, my husband Jim and I had the pleasure of attending their wedding in California.
We were so honored to be invited. When I thanked Vanessa for inviting us, she told me they think about me often. Ditto. So, on Friday, Jim and I flew to San Diego via Phoenix and then drove 1 hour to the rural area of Ramona, California.
At the welcome reception Friday night, I got to meet their families. Vanessa’s mother, Suzanne, greeted me with tears and a huge hug. I could see in her eyes how proud she was of Vanessa. Her daughter helped save my life and here I was in the flesh…she could see, first hand, the woman who was alive and well thanks to Vanessa’s lack of hesitation to give me CPR.
Vanessa’s cousin told me that she learned about Vanessa’s role in my survival in health class in Louisiana. The story that KDKA’s Ken Rice did on “the medical students” who helped save my life was being used as a CPR teaching tool in her class!
I hugged Ranmal’s father and mother, and his mother looked me straight in the eye and told me to be careful if I go running again. I let her know I had moved on to other sports now.
The wedding was held the following day at a beautiful vineyard called Milagro, which is the Spanish word for “miracle.” Vanessa looked like an angel. I cried when they recited their vows. I breathed in the hot, dry California air and squeezed my husband’s hand. Vanessa and Ranmal gave me a second chance at life. Now, I was witnessing one of the biggest moments in their lives.
They are truly a remarkable couple and I feel like I have known them my whole life. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. I’ve attached some photos from the wedding, including my favorite: Vanessa and me dancing with each other like no one was watching.
I would like to encourage all of you to share this story.
It shows that CPR saves lives….lives that are full, and joyous … If just one person reads this and decides to learn CPR, wouldn’t that be a great wedding gift for Vanessa and Ranmal.