CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — If you’ve been to Original Pancake House in Champaign, you may know “Lester the coffee guy.” He’s always making sure your coffee is filled to the brim and has a smile on his face while doing it.
Now, he’s lucky to be alive thanks to Shannon Walter, a good samaritan nearby. She was at the right place at the right time with the right app on her phone. When Shannon got the notification someone was in cardiac arrest, she stepped up and showed up.
“I was finishing lunch in a parking lot across from Dollar General,” Shannon described. “I had just left to go back to work.”
That’s when her phone lit up with a notification from the app “Pulse Point.” Someone needed CPR across the street.
“When I pulled into the lot, I could see someone pulling somebody out of a vehicle,” Shannon described.
That person was Lester Lindsey. He was picked up from work at the Original Pancake House and was headed home when he went into cardiac arrest.
Shannon started CPR, and first responders arrived a few minutes later. It’s what she was trained to do as a CPR instructor.
“I walked away from that situation knowing that I probably would never know who it was, their outcome, or if they did survive in the long term what their health looked like,” she said.
Dr. Kurt Bloomstrand, the OSF Emergency Services Chair, said when it comes to that long-term health, every minute matters.
“The chance of survival is about 10%. We know that bystander cardiac arrest can increase that chance of surviving 2 or 3 fold,” he explained.
Dr. Bloomstrand also said when you call 911, it can take 4-8 minutes for EMS crews to get there.
“That missing link in the chain of survival is community and bystander CPR,” he said.
That’s where being trained and downloading Pulse Point can help, it’s an app that will alert somebody of someone in need of CPR in a public space nearby.
That way, more people can be that missing link, like Shannon was for Lester.
“It makes my heart very happy,” she said.
Shannon wants to encourage others to get CPR certified, download the app and don’t be afraid to help in an emergency.
As for Lester’s health, he is in the hospital recovering. Original Pancake House started a GoFundMe page for him too, you can donate at this link.
There are many ways to get CPR certified in Central Illinois. OSF and the Champaign Park District are two places with regular classes. Dr. Bloomstrand also recommends courses with the American Heart Association.