FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – As Mike Rossi tossed a Frisbee with his dog Mocha in their Framingham backyard – it was hard to tell which enjoyed it more. “It’s just amazing that you get another chance,” says the 56-year-old Raytheon project manager.
A couple of towns away in Marlboro, DeAnna Collins thinks about Mike every time she drives a certain stretch of Route 20. “I feel great that he survived,” she says. “All I wanted was for him to live.”
Mike had gone out for a lunch hour jog on June 20th – as he often did. But on this run he collapsed from a heart attack not far from his office. His doctors would later tell him that a major artery was 100% blocked.
DeAnna was on her way to work when she saw a handful of folks gathered around him by the roadside and jumped in to help. As a state park ranger she’d recently taken a CPR refresher course.
But Mike was her first real patient, and she had him breathing again as EMTs arrived. “The funny thing is I don’t always go to work that way,” she says. “But I went that way on that day. So it was meant to be.”
Mike doesn’t remember anything about the life-saving CPR, or the defibrillators in the ambulance, or the stents put in at the hospital. “I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people around me,” he says.
DeAnna didn’t know for weeks if the man she had tried to save had even made it. “And the first person to call me was his best friend and he said ‘I want to thank you for saving my friend’s life.’”
Since then, Mike and DeAnna have spoken on the phone. Still strangers – but with a powerful connection.
“He said ‘How do I thank you for what you did? You’re my angel,’” DeAnna tells WBZ-TV.
“DeAnna. Wow!” says Mike fighting back the tears. “What can you say?”
Mike hopes to return to work by the end of the summer, with his faith in humanity boosted a bit – and a little different outlook on things. “I think the reason I have a heart is because of DeAnna,” he says.
They hope to meet for coffee soon. “I think I’m going to cry,” DeAnna says. “I think I’m going to hug him and cry when I see him.”
But that will likely be a meeting both will remember.
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