Greenville man collapses during 5K, wife jumps in to help save his life

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:41 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A man who went into cardiac arrest while running a 5K says he is alive today, all thanks to his wife who jumped in to perform CPR before first responders arrived.

Tony Parker works in the planning department for the City of Greenville.

He says he likes to stay active with his wife, Delia Parker and they eat healthy as well.

So when he had a cardiac arrest while running a 5K, it came as a shock, but he wouldn’t be here today without the help of his wife and everyone else involved.

Tony and his wife were set to run in the Live Well Free 5K and half marathon.

Tony was scheduled to run the half marathon but made a last-minute decision to run the 5K with Delia.

‘Team Parker’ made it to mile 3 when Tony ran slightly ahead of his wife, rounded a corner,, and collapsed.

That’s when his wife’s story comes in.

Delia couldn’t find a pulse and immediately started CPR on her husband, something she’s been trained on at work.

Delia could hear his ribs crack and says she broke four of Tony’s ribs but first responders told her that was a good thing, it meant she did it right.

Because of that immediate CPR, Tony Parker experienced no brain damage from the incident.

Greenville Fire and Rescue quickly responded to the scene that day.

Now, with an implanted defibrillator, the Parkers are using this experience to encourage others to get CPR certified.

Greenville Fire & Rescue said early CPR and early defibrillation saves more lives than anything they can do in an ambulance.

The Parkers even delivered hand-written cards to the first responders who showed up to help.

The cards read, “You gave us a mended heart rather than a broken heart.”

Tony and Delia Parker make cards for first responders who helped save Tony's life.
Tony and Delia Parker make cards for first responders who helped save Tony's life.(WITN)

Tony says he will wear his scar with pride and continue to encourage others to get CPR certified.

For more information on CPR certification, you can head to:

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