Overland Park teen meets first responder who saved his life during cross county meet

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A walking miracle is how many people describe 14-year-old Gage Banks.  Last September the teen was running in a cross country meet in Johnson County, when he collapsed, his heart had stopped, and in minutes, Banks could have died.

Tuesday, however, he got to publicly thank the people who didn't allow that to happen.

It was a “Thank You” worth far more than any phrase could convey.

"I'm very blessed that he was there, and I'm thankful for all the people that helped," said Gage Banks.

Especially for Gage Banks, at 13, his heart stopped while running cross country.  He didn't know he was born with a heart defect, one that could have killed him.  Theresa Donaldson, a school nurse, and Tom Turner were luckily at the cross country meet watching other runners.

"Right place at the right time, is what I keep saying," said Turner.

For Turner, after the day he says changed his life, the only thanks he needs is a healthy, happy Gage.

"To see him today.  It's awesome.  It is remarkable, it is really, really cool to see where he is today," said Turner.

Turner and others at the meet stepped in after Gage collapsed and gave him CPR.  Gage's mother was terrified.

"It was the worst day of my life," said Rebecca Banks.  "I was in total shock and disbelief that this was actually happening."

CPR is what is credited with allowing Gage to bounce back completely.

"It was because of the fast acting people and giving them compressions and giving them oxygen, keeping his heart pumping that saved him from brain damage," Rebecca said.

Gage’s was one of five total stories of people who survived heart attacks or sudden cardiac arrest that were at Tuesday’s Heart Safe event.  The goal was to show people how CPR or other intervention right away can help people survive heart issues.