Actor’s collapse on stage could prove to be life-saving for others

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Less than three months after a performer collapsed in cardiac arrest at the community theater here, two new defibrillators have been installed at the public venue. Theatre Lawrence received a unique donation to help make this happen.

After seeing a report on FOX 4 News about actor Jake Leet's collapse on stage, the Henning Family Foundation decided it could help. The organization's mission is to provide defibrillators in public places.

During a December performance of Shrek, The Musical, 20-year-old Jake Leet blacked out on stage suffering from cardiac arrest. Those watching the performance didn't realize anything was wrong at first, thinking that when Jake, who played Donkey, fell down, it was just part of the performance.

Luckily for Leet, the time it took for an ambulance to arrive was enough to save his life. But his family realized there's a need for defibrillators.

"Fortunately for the Leets it turned out better than in my family's situation," said Denise Henning, founder of the Henning Family Foundation. "But that's our goal. To have the AEDs accessible so that these kind of tragedies don't happen."

The Henning Family Foundation, which is based in the metro area, started after Tim Henning died of a heart attack in 2012 while watching his son's baseball game. The foundation raises money to install defibrillators in public places. It costs about $2,000 for each unit. An additional $250 a year pays for monitoring and maintenance of the devices once they are in service.

The Leet family also has a foundation to train more people in Lawrence to properly administer cardio pulmonary resuscitation. Leet credits CPR for helping to save his life during that December scare.

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1 Comment

  • Cindy

    Just wanted to bring to the attention of those who wrote this that in the beginning the anchors call this a “cardiac arrest,” however the headline reads “heart attack.” For those of us in the medical field that is a very different diagnosis. Just wanted to let you know!

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