Lafayette General honored a Lafayette woman with the Making a Difference award for going above and beyond, giving life saving CPR to a jogger who had collapsed.
Monday, January 9th started as any other day for Gary Dodson. He went to work and then around 11:30 went home for lunch and was planning on continuing his normal routine.
“I was going to go to Girard Park and run my normal three laps and go from there,” said Gary Dodson.
Dodson exercises regularly and says he doesn’t remember much from that day or even hitting the track.
“I do not remember changing into my running clothes, I don’t remember driving to the park, parking or plugging in my iPod and running. I do not remember any of that.”
Dodson’s heart stopped beating and he collapsed on the track. Bystanders called 911, and that’s when Deedra Harrington who works in the College of Nursing at UL was passing by and says something in her mind told her to turn around and see if he needed help.
“When I approached and got out of my vehicle, I noticed that he was unresponsive and initiated CPR at that point,” said Harrington.
Within minutes medics arrived and used a defibrillator to revive Dodson. They rushed him to Lafayette General where doctors realized he had a massive heart attack.
“I did make an attempt to see how he was doing. I didn’t want to know his name or anything, but I did want to see if he survived,” said Harrington.
The next day Dodson woke up and repeatedly asked what happened and he wanted to meet the woman that saved his life.
“When I was able to talk to Deedra, she was able to fill in part of the blanks as far as what happened and what she did and what happened after.”
“I said, you look so much better than when I saw you yesterday. It is a great feeling to know that it only takes one individual to make a difference.”
Since that day, Dodson has slowed down and says he appreciates life a lot more.
“I’m not going to let things stress me out like they did before. Life is precious, I realize that now. I just try to look for the good things in life and that’s how I look at it now.”
A life that was changed forever and a gift that Dodson says he is eternally thankful for.
Since Dodson’s heart attack, he plans on attending the annual heart starter mass training this spring.