Submitted by Jill Bode, BNI Central Indiana
Little did he know that a machine he had advocated for so strongly years ago would one day save his life. Dentist Dr. Mike Gradeless owes his life today to the quick actions of several people and a small machine that weighs less than eight pounds. Now he wants to make sure that others have his same chance at life. On April 4, 2016, Gradeless had just finished a basketball game at his local gym when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest and crumpled to the ground in front of a friend.
Two gym employees who were trained in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator machine (AED) raced to perform these life-saving procedures and were able to get his heart restarted twice before the ambulance came and transported him to St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital in Indiana.
Years earlier, Gradeless had lost an uncle to sudden cardiac arrest and he became interested in how AED machines, when used properly, could save lives. According to the American Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age. An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest.
Many of his fellow BNI® members were deeply moved by Gradeless’ survival, and wanted to honor him by purchasing and providing life-saving equipment to another organization. Because 16 percent of all sudden cardiac arrests occur in public settings like a gym, it made sense to choose a recreational facility as the beneficiary of this AED donation. BNI members picked Force Barbell in Fishers because of their community focus and commitment to helping organizations such as Special Olympics.
Gradeless chose Excellence in Networking member Tyler Miller of Force Barbell in Fishers, Indiana because of his community focus and commitment to helping organizations such as Special Olympics. Having a fellow BNI member benefit from the donation of this life-saving equipment was important to Gradeless. The circle was complete when BNI member and incoming President of Network Masters, Capt. Shane Arnell of Public Safety Training and Supply, offered to supply the AED machine at cost to BNI Central Indiana.