Avera Medical Minute: AED at Leif Ericson Camp saves life

Chris Dieters is grateful for a second lease on life. While packing up and saying her goodbyes on the last day of Leif Ericson camp, she collapsed.

AED saves life at Leif Ericson camp

"All I remember is hugging one of the counselors goodbye and I woke up the next day at ten o'clock in the morning with my husband telling me that I had cardiac arrest and that the kids at Leif Ericson saved my life," said Dieters.

Seven people were honored recently for their part in helping save Chris's life. Carter McGregor, Adam Christensen, Kali Lien, Lizzie Soukup, Nicole Bartling, Nick Rovang and Don Schmidt.

"Somebody yelled 'Chris', and I was saying my goodbyes to one of the counselors. I looked over and she was laying on the ground in front of her car, and I just reacted," said Schmidt.

It was a trained reaction. Six weeks prior, the entire staff and volunteers at Leif Ericson camp had received CPR training. Don started compressions while others ran for help, including a half-mile run for an AED.

"It wasn't just me, everybody from getting an AED, to calling 911, to getting the bag so we had stuff for Mike as a firefighter, the ambulance showed up, a lot of things worked, it was terrific," said Schmidt.

Another story of a life saved with an AED is what Avera AED coordinator Becky Smith loves to hear.

"I think it's amazing. I think us being able to partner with the Sioux Empire United way, place the AED's at a low cost in the community, and then have outcomes that are positive and that we can actually hear about and respond to is amazing," said Smith.

More AEDs means more lives can be saved, and using them is foolproof. At work, your church where you shop, an AED could make you a hero.

"To be able to grab that AED, it will walk you step by step by step, it's three simple steps, and it will not shock the person unless it reads that they need it. You can push that button all day long and it will not shock," said Smith.

Chris looks forward to more time with her family, playing with her grandchildren, and working again soon for the Brandon School District.

"There's nothing I can give them or do for them that would equal what they deserve; nothing. Could you put a monetary value on someone saving your life? No," said Dieters.

Coming back from the brink of cardiac arrest brings a new perspective.

"If you are given a second chance, you should have nothing to complain about, and where would I be without all of those young adults right there?" said Dieters.

The life-saving measures on the last day of summer camp bring Chris the joys of everyday life, for many seasons to come.