Joe’s Story

More than 92% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims don’t survive. I’m one of the lucky ones.

On Mother’s Day in 2013, I went for a walk with my wife Melissa, eight-month-old son and mother-in-law after dinner.

Not long after we left, I suddenly collapsed, falling face first into the pavement.

My family didn’t know it yet – but my heart had stopped beating.

A couple, tending to their lawn at a nearby house, called 911 immediately. Within minutes, firefighters had arrived, and brought out the defibrillation paddles.

Melissa recalls watching from the sidewalk in horror as my chest flew up violently with each shock from the defibrillator. Minutes later, the firefighters yelled out that they had found a pulse.

A defibrillator saved my life.

I was then rushed to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, where I was once again defibrillated and stabilized, later being sent to a Toronto hospital to have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted.

That’s why I’m writing you today. When someone’s heart stops, every second counts. In these extreme circumstances, it’s vital that doctors and nurses have the equipment they need to ensure the best chance of survival.

Joe and his son recovering in hospital.

Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital is in urgent need of defibrillators.

In total, 28 of the Hospital’s old defibrillators need to be replaced, especially in high-risk areas such as emergency, cardio-respiratory and the intensive care unit.

Our Hospital receives no government funding for new and replacement equipment, so the responsibility is on our community to fund the entire amount for these life-saving machines.

I suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 32 as the result of a complex heart condition I had been born with. Unfortunately – instances like this can happen to anyone. Men 40 and over have a one in eight chance of sudden cardiac death. This could be your spouse, one of your children or even one of your grandchildren.

The best way to ensure patients who have cardiac episodes in Hospital have the greatest chance of survival is by supporting the purchase of these life-saving machines today.

Not only do these machines save lives, they also come equipped with state-of-the-art features to ensure the best outcome possible for cardiac patients. This includes a pulse regulator, a dashboard that monitors the quality of chest compressions and any underlying heart rhythm, and the ability to immediately adapt current to suit a child or adult.

Each of these new defibrillators will cost approximately $13,000. This is a small price to pay to save a life. By working together, we can ensure these pieces of equipment are there for patients as soon as possible.

Joe & his wife Melissa out for a walk with their two children

Because of a defibrillator, my son still has a father, my wife still has a husband, and my new daughter was able to join us in this beautiful life. Please help ensure this is possible for other cardiac arrest patients in North Simcoe Muskoka.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Yours sincerely,

Joe Bladek
Cardiac Arrest Survivor from Orillia
Mortgage Broker with Verico

P.S. Thank you so much for your generous support of OSMH. You’ve made a real difference in the lives of our patients. I hope I can count on you to send a donation today to help secure new defibrillators for OSMH.