OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Former Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Rick Worrel died from cardiac arrest August 24.
His family almost immediately went to work trying to carry on his legacy supporting heart health in the community.
The 58-year-old avid runner spoke to FOX4 previously about another cardiac arrest he suffered running a 5K with his daughter in 2016, the day before her high school graduation.
“I was finishing the race. I was 50 yards from the finish line and dropped from sudden cardiac arrest mid-stride,” Worrel said in 2018.
Worrel, president of the Overland Park business Affinis, made sure all his employees were trained in hands-only CPR. One of his employees was even running beside him and saved his life.
“Even after three years and as many times as he told it, I never heard him tell it where he wasn’t emotional about it because what some bystander did, he knew he had more time to spend with his family,” friend Jim Holland said.
Rick became a tireless advocate for CPR, both through classroom education and posts on social media.
“He would always end it with the #pushhardpushfast,” Holland said. “He would go around with fire departments whenever they were doing training just to tell his story what an impact bystander CPR made on his life, because it literally saved him.”
“If somebody hadn’t started pounding on his chest when that happened, Rick would have died back in May of 2016.”
This August on his wedding anniversary, Worrel was working out at a Nebraska hotel where he and his wife had traveled to watch his daughter play soccer. No one else around.
But during this cardiac arrest, by the time someone found him, it was too late.
Holland is a CPR advocate himself. His wife was saved from cardiac arrest by the manager of the restaurant where they were dining back in 2015.
Now, he’s helping Worrell’s family raise money for the American Heart Association to bring the first CPR kiosk to the area.
“You walk up, push start and it will immediately do a training video and allow you to do some test compressions on it, and you can actually do a CPR test within a matter of minutes and it gives you real time feedback,” said Laura Lopez, executive director of the American Heart Association of Kansas City.
There are two dozen such kiosks around the country, mostly at airports and other frequent gathering areas, but there’s none in the Kansas City area.
The kiosk costs $375,000. Most of them around the country have been sponsored by businesses or hospitals.
Overland Park’s would be the first community sponsored kiosk, with fundraising taking place through a CrowdRise page.
Nearly half of us will receive bystander CPR at some point in our lifetime. The American Heart Association says 90% of all cardiac arrests happen outside the hospital.