Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 40

For Lynn Blake, the Vail Valley was
a pretty safe place to experience sudden
cardiac arrest. She now wants to make it the
world’s safest.
In 2007, when Blake was 27, she collapsed of
a sudden cardiac arrest while at work in Vail
Village. Fortunately for her, there was a person
nearby who knew CPR, and Blake just so
happened to be right across the street from Vail
Fire Department Station No. 2.
“A bystander performed CPR and Vail fire-
fighters ran across the street with an automat-
ed external defibrillator (AED) and saved my
life,” said Blake. “And because of that potentially
tragic event, I decided to start an organization
called Starting Hearts, providing free CPR and
AED education to anyone who wants it.”
But that wasn’t immediately following her
episode. First, she was carted around and cared
for by her new husband, Matt Blake, for the
next six months.
Matt Blake considers it a blessing. “I think
we’re really fortunate that we experienced
something so trying while we were so young
in our married life,” he said. “It really made us
appreciate each other in a way that I think a lot
of couples never really do.”
Lynn Blake says Matt was a real trooper. “He
did everything for me,” she said. “I couldn’t drive,
and he took me everywhere I needed to go.”
These days, Blake drives. You can’t miss her on
the road, actually — she drives a large bus called
the “Heart Rod” around the valley for Starting
Hearts. It doubles as a mobile CPR and AED
training unit. “People come on board and I teach
them CPR, or how to use an AED,” she says.
She has joined forces with Dr. Larry Gaul,
VVMC cardiologist and the U.S. Nordic Ski
Team Physician. Their first meeting was Gaul
attending to Blake during her cardiac arrest ep-
isode. He says the AED was a paramount factor
No Heart
Lynn Blake survived sudden
cardiac arrest, and wants to see
more like her in the Vail Valley
By john laconte : : photos by dominique taylor
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