There were moments of gratitude and reflection for emergency personnel and patients who got a chance to say thanks to the people who saved their lives.
It was the middle of the night when 23-year-old Craig Buren woke up finding it hard to breath. His girlfriend Karly Martin immediately called 911.
“It started out as a normal Saturday. We went to bed, everything was fine and then at some point I woke to him struggling to breathe and by the time I woke up and turned on the light he was totally unresponsive,” Martin says.
Buren was lucky that with Martin's swift action and the quick response from paramedics, his life was saved.
“ When I came to I’m Victoria Hospital, doctors basically told me I had cardiac arrest which was kind of overwhelming to hear," he says.
On Friday, for the first time ever, Buren got to thank the paramedics who saved him in person.
“Obviously I owe them so much for what they have done, and yeah I’m just going to say thanks for everything that they do.”
Buren is one of 20 cardiac arrest patients who were thanking paramedics and emergency personnel at the 2019 Survivors' Day event.
“Not very often do we find out what happens to somebody when we take them to the hospital. Some calls can be very traumatic and stay with us so to see them up and have a coffee and cookie with us afterwards it closes the loop for that call for sure,” says Miranda Bothwell, the Middlesex-London EMS public education coordinator.
It’s an emotional event for many, who get to hug and thank the person who saved their life or the life of a loved one.
It’s also emotional for emergency personnel, like Luke Vandenberk, who is new to Middlesex-London EMS.
This is his first Survivors' Day event and the first time meeting a cardiac patient he saved.
“I’m excited to actually see the patient because most of the time we don’t see the outcome and the service has been putting this on for the past couple years so it’s awesome for us.”
Cardiac arrest calls happen every day in the London area, with EMS responding to 634 calls last year alone.
They say this event also serves as a reminder that acting fast and calling 911 can mean the difference between life and death.