A woman trained in CPR saved her husband’s life as he was driving the family home from a soccer game.
Pam Heiker remembers Sunday, May 6 as a blur.
A sea of purple jerseys filled the streets of downtown as Orlando City fans celebrated a home win.
“Everyone was everywhere,” Pam Heiker said.
Heiker’s husband, Jerome Heiker, led the family back to their car in a parking garage on Church Street.
“It was an awesome game, and you know somebody at work told me the other day they haven’t won since,” Pam Heiker said.
A few blocks into the drive home, Pam Heiker watched her husband slump over the steering wheel.
“When this happened, we were driving,” Pam Heiker said.
She put the car in park, threw open the passenger door, ran to her husband and started CPR.
“To me it felt like I was doing CPR for an hour, when in reality I found out later from the paramedics it was only two minutes before they arrived,” Pam Heiker said.
Less than a mile away, Orlando firefighters from Station One surrounded their car and took over CPR. Heiker watched as her husband was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
“I was told later that when I was intubated that I was signing to my wife and to my children that I love you,” Jerome Heiker said.
Doctors told Pam Heiker after her husband was revived, her initial response helped to save his life. Now during his recovery, he has no heart muscle damage.
“I’m pretty sure that the words she was whispering in my ear was, ‘You’re not leaving me yet,” Jerome Heiker said.
He now considers his wife his hero.
“It makes everything that we went through and he’s going through worth it, if one person learns CPR,” Pam Heiker said.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 300,000 people have learned CPR through their programs in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties.