Nicole Edison recently lived through one of her worst nightmares.
She was driving home to Barrie, Ont. earlier this month with her mother–Karen Begbie–after attending a gala in Ottawa. The event was filled with laughter, dancing and good times. But once they got on the highway, something unusual started to happen: Begbie suddenly became unresponsive and slumped over in the car.
“I thought she had fallen asleep, so I looked at her and her body was convulsing,” Edison said.
Not knowing what was going on, she pulled over to the side of the road and began frantically waving down other drivers.
Of the 15 people who stopped to help, 10 of them just so happened to be off-duty first responders. Seven were nurses, two were paramedics and one was a fire chief. “Best case scenario” doesn’t even begin to describe that kind of luck.
Since Begbie was no longer breathing, the team immediately got to work performing CPR.
“I just kept saying to the nurses, ‘I’m just not ready to lose my mom. Please, I’m just not ready to lose her,'” Edison said.
It turns out Begbie had suffered from a rare form of cardiac arrest where the heartbeat loses its rhythm and stops. But thanks to the quick work of those good Samaritans, her brain was only deprived of oxygen for three minutes. Any longer, and doctors say she could’ve suffered brain damage.
“The day I got out of the hospital and could see the sky, and the trees and the birds–just to breathe the air,” Begbie said. “Every single day now, you wake up and live your life to the fullest.”
The pair is now planning a reunion with the first responders who came to their rescue. They will be meeting in Barrie in just a few weeks.
You can learn more about the story in the video above.