West Fargo man thankful to be alive after collapsing on treadmillFargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -A West Fargo man and brand new father is lucky to be alive. Thanks to two women who helped save him after a rare heart attack.
By: Kay Cooley, WDAY
Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -A West Fargo man and brand new father is lucky to be alive. Thanks to two women who helped save him after a rare heart attack.
At just 34, Justin Gress is proving even if you have age and health on your side, it’s the people around you who make all the difference.
Amy Schumacher, Justin's Fiancée: "You just don't know when something like this will happen."
Justin Gress and his fiancée Amy Schumacher sit holding their newborn baby girl who just celebrated a month of life on Monday.
Justin Gress, recovering from Heart attack: "She's beautiful."
But just a week back, Justin was in a hospital bed at Essentia, not knowing if he'd see the day.
Gress: "I didn't know if I'd get to see her again."
The active 34-year-old thought he was on the right track quitting smoking and training to run the Fargo marathon at Snap Fitness
Gress: "No heart problems, no real health issues."
But about an hour into "seven mile Sunday" on the treadmill, he went into cardiac arrest. Luckily, two women didn't hesitate to help.
Gress: "What are the chances two healthcare professionals are at the same gym you are and you happen to collapse."
The two performed CPR but Justin was pronounced clinically dead for 10 minutes.
Schumacher: "He may not wake up. He may not remember who we are."
Life since is a blur. EMTs followed by five days of tests, surgeries, and a whole lot of uncertainty.
Schumacher: "If he doesn't make it, how do I tell the kids?"
Gress: "What I had was called a widow-maker, just by the low odds of survival."
Now, without health insurance, Justin watches as his medical bills pile up, so far at roughly $75,000.
Add in the cost of a newborn daughter.
Gress: "She's the first person that I asked for when I came to."
And for a soon to be wife whose own health problems keep her from work, family is the only thing easing his worries.
Gress: "Being a new dad, you're sort of taking it all in and then something like that happens to you. I think it just brings a new level of appreciation."
Appreciation for both his beautiful baby girl and the two women
Gress: "Without their help I'm nowhere."
Who he says he owes his life and his future.
Schumacher: "I'm just so thankful he's here."
The family is holding a benefit in May. If you'd like to help now, they've set up an account at Bell State Bank and Trust under Justin Gress.