Author’s Note: Lessons Learned

This is a true story that happened on August 19, 2009.  For days following, the events of that morning kept replaying in my head like a movie and I started writing to simply stop the re-runs.  However, in the midst of writing I realized it would serve a more important purpose. First, to serve as a memory for Jim who will never remember those eleven minutes. And secondly, share with others the lessons I learned that day:

  1. Everyone can and should learn CPR. You can save a life. Maybe it will be a stranger or maybe it will be one of your loved ones. holds classes weekly in your area.
  2. Always carry ID, especially when exercising alone. is a great solution for runners/bikers/walkers to ensure your loved ones are contacted in case of an emergency. No one wants their family calling around the local hospitals looking for them.
  3. On your cell phone, call your local 911 dispatcher to save time. Look up and save the local 911 dispatch number on your mobile phone. It can shave a minute or more off the emergency response time by avoiding this transfer. San Jose Emergency Dispatch is (408) 277-8911.   Find yours by searching “<your city> 911 dispatch.”
  4. Everything happens for a reason. Even the little things in life like getting up early in the morning. Be open and look for the opportunities presented to you to learn, grow and live your purpose.
  5. Eleven minutes is enough time. Many of us go through life thinking there is not enough time to do everything that needs to get done.  But there is always enough time to help and make a difference.

Please forward and share this story with your family and friends.   There never can be too much awareness about heart health, CPR and first aid that can help keep your loved ones healthy and safe.

Continuous Chest Compression CPR – Mayo Clinic Demonstration


6 responses

21 09 2009

Wow. You saved my longtime friend and associate’s life. He surely would have died had you not jumped in, and making this even more public will help someone in the future spend more holidays at home. you are a hero.

Gary Fong

26 02 2010
Heather G

Thanks Gary — and thanks for posting a link too. It is one of the top referrers of traffic (which = awareness) to this story.

22 09 2009
Eleven Minutes Made a Difference

[…] shares the whole story moment-by-moment, but the lessons from the end may be the most important: The ambulance is driving off and a few firemen remain to clean up the […]

4 11 2009
Khan Lau


You saved my friend Jim’s life. I have not seen Jim in years and we have lost touch until lately. I so very glad you were there and were willing to put yourself out there for a stranger. God put you there for a reason….



26 02 2010
Heather G

Thanks Khan. Whenever I think about that day, I am, too, reminded that I was there for a reason…and nothing really happens in life that can’t teach us something new.

27 03 2011
Hamza Balol

Hi Heather,

Thestory somehow rekindled the dying flame of my faith that everything happens for a reason. When God leads us to the edge of the cliff, we need to understand that either He will carry us or teach us how to fly. The runner was on the edge of the cliff when God sent you his way to carry him. Life is a shipwreck, and that runner definitely sang in the lifeboat.

All the best,
Hamza Balol
Saudi Arabia

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