Cardiac event survivors honor metro heroes who saved their lives

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A 13-year-old girl had just finished playing volleyball when she collapsed last summer just after her heart stopped. A stranger helped save her life, and Wednesday that man was honored in Overland Park.

Olivia Eisenhauer is just one of five survivors who got to honor the first responders and other heroes who helped saved them after suffering a sudden cardiac event.

HeartSafe Johnson County is a collaborative effort of several first responding agencies aiming to train people and teach the importance of AED use and Hands-Only CPR. The group highlighted five survival stories Wednesday and brought together the victims, the first responders, and the strangers who stepped in to help.

The room was full of gratitude as each story was shared and dozens of people were recognized.

Fourteen-year-old Eisenhauer doesn't remember much at all about the day last summer when her heart stopped.

"I remember I got Starbucks that morning, I remember double chocolate chip Frappuccino," she said.

She was playing club volleyball that evening and had just walked off the court after a match. She said, "I walked off the volleyball court, collapsed, stopped breathing. Her mother Jodi Eisenhauer said, "I just felt like the whole room was spinning. It was all just happening fast and around."

A crowd of people gathered around the young teen. One of those people was Sean Franklin, a fellow volleyball parent from an opposing team.

"All of a sudden someone was like hey that girl must have passed out," he said.

Franklin is also an AED instructor and knew what signs to look for. "You could hear people screaming, 'She's overheated,'" Franklin said. He said he knew pretty quickly that her heart was in trouble.

Jodi Eishenhauer said, "He had absolutely no hesitation and pulled out the AED machine and we later found out it saved her life." Olivia said, "I was told he pretty much jumped in because they were sheepish about do we do a defibrillator or not."

Franklin said, "It brings a smile to my face knowing she's here."

Olivia's mother continued, "The gratitude I have toward Sean; I call him our superhero. I know that makes him incredible uncomfortable, but he is our superhero."

The event also aimed to bring awareness to HeartSafe Johnson County. The group provided the following handouts:

You can also learn more at jocoheartsafe.org