Fishing for Life: Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament donation saves woman’s life

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WITN) - Every October, fishermen flock to the Crystal Coast for the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament. The annual event is fun for the family and also acts as a non-profit fundraiser. Their mission is to raise money for life-saving equipment that they then donate to the Atlantic Beach fire department. This past February, that donated equipment saved a woman’s life.

“I’m sure if it had not been on that truck that night, I might not be here," Nancy Evans told WITN Sports while sitting inside the Atlantic Beach Fire station.

But Nancy is still here, sharing her story in the hopes of helping others.

February 17, 2020 — It was a typical Monday night for Nancy and her husband Rick at their condo in Atlantic Beach.

“We don’t live here permanently," Nancy said. "We had come down for about a week and had gone out to dinner, my husband and I.”

But it was after dinner when Nancy suffered cardiac arrest.

Her husband Rick — “My hero!” — immediately called 911. The dispatcher then walked him through CPR.

Luckily, the Evans' condo is right across the street from the Atlantic Beach Fire station.

“If it weren’t for probably being so close, and the CPR, and the machine, I probably wouldn’t be here today," Nancy said.

The machine is called the Zoll AutoPulse. It’s a $15,000 piece of equipment that was donated by the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament.

“The ability of that one machine to keep people alive, where in other situations, they might have lost their life," said Renea Baker, Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament secretary, treasurer and Lady Macks chairman. "It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re part of something like that.”

In three hours time, Nancy was rushed to Carteret Health Care in Morehead City. Then she was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she stayed for 16 days.

“We know the equipment made a difference," said Michael Simpson, Atlantic Beach Fire Chief. "We know that the fisherman and our sponsors who are supporting our King Mackerel Tournament, everything came together to make a difference that is tangible, that we can see and speak to everyday, and that is very gratifying to us.”

“Gratitude is my new word," said Nancy. "Very grateful.”

This year, the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament begins Oct. 3 and runs through Oct. 24.

You can still register by going to There you can also make a donation or become a sponsor.

This year, the tournament is hoping to raise enough money to buy a new jet ski and Jaws of Life piece of equipment.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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