Tesca Kinard has had several close calls with death. She's fortunate to have had someone around to administer CPR each time.
"I went into cardiac arrest seven times over the 18 years. I was a heart failure patient," said Kinard. "I truly believe there's something left here for me to do."
The first time it happened was the week after her daughter Kayla was born. The last time was in May of 2013, the morning of Kayla's senior prom. The mother and daughter watched a TV show about the importance of CPR one week before.
They had no idea the 18-year-old would be putting her skills to use so soon.
"She said when she saw me lying on the floor panic set it. She knew she had to do something to save my life," she said.
The American Heart Association says 70 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home, but only 40 percent of people who experience them survive. That's why health experts say there's two steps to saving someone's life. Call 911 first then push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
"CPR if performed immediately could double or triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival," said Anne Miller, Triangle American Heart Association executive director.
The AHA says African Americans, Hispanics and women are less likely to receive bystander CPR in public. Black and Brown residents living in rural communities have lower rates of CPR training than other communities.
"That's partly because of a fear of accusations, or inappropriate touching, sexual assault or injuring a person," said Miller.
Over the years, both Tesca's daughters have administered CPR to her. She's received a heart transplant since the last time and is now urging everyone to learn CPR.
"When I tell my story, I can't help but get emotional," said Kinard. " Saving somebody's life is a blessing."
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