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Teenager who saved dad's life creates charity event to help others

Kaitlin Ryan started golf charity to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest
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Posted at 5:34 AM, May 05, 2021

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A teenager's bond with her father is stronger than ever after a terrifying experience in April 2020.

During the pandemic, Kaitlin Ryan and her dad, Steve, would hit the golf course after dinner. But on one April evening, their routine turned into a near-death experience.

"I kind of noticed something different, and my dad was lying face down on the putting green," Kaitlin said.

Her father, only 49-years-old at the time, had suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

"I didn't experience any pain that I knew of or that I remembered. I just woke up in the hospital very groggy, but they said, do you know why you're here, and I said no," Steve said. "They said you experienced sudden cardiac arrest on the golf course, and they said your daughter saved your life."

Thanks to Kaitlin's quick thinking and her recollection of CPR from middle school, her father is alive today.

"I had learned basics in middle school enough obviously to make the outcome positive, but I wasn't really educated on sudden cardiac arrest specifically," Kaitlin said.

Her mother, a nurse, also helped while on the phone as the teen waited for paramedics.

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"They shocked him with the AED, I think four times, I think is what they said before they got his pulse after 12 minutes of no pulse," Kaitlin said.

Steve was rushed to the hospital and put in a medically induced coma to reduce his body temperature.

He awoke three days later in what some would say was perfect timing.

"Wednesday they brought me back out, which happened to be Kaitlin's birthday, so it was a great birthday present," Steve said.

A year later, the Ryan family said it's still surreal to think what happened.

"I kind of pinch myself and say this is all bonus time for me. I feel very fortunate," Steve said.

Steve and his family are using that bonus time to help other families.

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Kaitlin created "Chip in" for Sudden Cardiac Arrest, a charity golf event to raise money for the American Heart Association and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.

ChipInPostCard-smallFrontandBack by ABC Action News on Scribd

The event will be on June 5 at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, beginning at 8:00 a.m.

Baycare will offer mannequins to learn how to perform CPR.

For more information about the event email chipinforsca@gmail.com.