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CPR Training and Quick Reactions Save Runner's Life

I didn’t know what happened, but I knew he needed help.

Could you save a life if you saw someone collapse in front of you while out on a jog? What would you do if someone’s life literally rested in your hands and your actions?

John Krantz and Theresa Pavlacka, both of Northampton, Pa., were thrust into just such a situation and, thanks to their quick reactions and Red Cross training, helped save a life.

Joseph Prusak, 63, was hardly a newbie at long-distance running. A trained marathon runner, he was running one early morning last April when on the fourth mile he couldn’t catch his breath. “Then that was it,” he told a local newspaper. “I don’t remember anything else.”

Luckily for him, Krantz was on a run at the same time and saw Prusak collapse. “I didn’t know what happened, but I knew he needed help,” Krantz said. “When I got to his side, I could see that he wasn’t breathing and I couldn’t find a pulse.”

Krantz swung into action, beginning Hands-Only CPR.

Pavlacka was driving on her way to work and saw Prusak crumpled on the ground and Krantz giving chest compressions. She pulled over and began assisting with the compressions as another bystander called 9-1-1.

The two good Samaritans continued the compressions until paramedics arrived and rushed the victim to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg where doctors installed a defibrillator. Doctors concluded that the cardiac arrest was caused by scar tissue from an open heart surgery performed a decade earlier.

Later, after Prusak’s full recovery, the trio had an emotional reunion. “Everyone keeps saying I helped save a man’s life. It didn’t sink in before. But seeing him here today, it finally did,” Pavlacka said. Watch their heart-warming reunion.

Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival. Red Cross education can mean the difference between life and death.

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED courses give you the skills to save a life. All course options align with OSHA’s Best Practices for Workplace First Aid Training Programs and are available in classroom and blended learning formats.

Ensuring that you know what to do in a medical emergency is just a click away at Consider signing up for Red Cross CPR/AED and First Aid training today.

Also, download the American Red Cross First Aid App. The app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. This free app can be downloaded from Apple iTunes or Google Play Store.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.