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Bill Richardson’s Thankful A Stranger’s Quick Thinking Saved His Life

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On this Thanksgiving, one Twin Cities man is giving thanks for the kindness of strangers.

Back in October, Bill Richardson had a heart attack while working out at his gym. He believes he would have died if a staff member hadn’t acted quickly to give him CPR.

Richardson has always seen his workout as a way to stay healthy. Now, his time spent in the gym is a necessary step towards healing.

“I’m getting there,” Richardson said.

Three days a week, he spends an hour at Fairview Cardiac Rehabilitation. As he works towards recovery, he’s well aware that the gym setting is similar to where he had a heart attack that almost took his life.

“I must have been in the sets, somewhere along the line, and fell down,” he said. “I don’t remember anything about the day, total blank.”

Eight weeks ago, Richardson was at the LA Fitness in Richfield, training for an upcoming marathon.

He went into cardiac arrest. Chris Ransom, a personal trainer, was nearby and quickly offered help.

“They call it the widow maker, because there are few people that survive that. And, primarily, because of the quick response of Chris, that’s why I did,” Richardson said.

Both men have different memories of those fateful minutes when Ransom started CPR and waited for first responders to arrive.

“It’s a shock when I woke up in the hospital and thought what the heck is going on,” Richardson said.

“It felt like so long. In class, it’s like two minutes, but this felt like it was 5 or 10 minutes,” Ransom said.

That lifesaving knowledge was fresh in Ransom’s mind. He had just finished the CPR certification class a month earlier.

“It’s almost like the lottery,” Ransom said. “Your chances are slim, but, that one chance you’ve got are you ready for it.”

Full recovery will take time, but Richardson keeps his goals in plain sight. In his home, he keeps dozens of pairs of running shoes. He sees it as motivation to run another marathon.

Next to the shoes, he also keeps a reminder of those who gave him that second chance.

“It brings happiness and joy and the reflection of the people important to your life,” Richardson said.

He credits the four first responders with saving his life.

Richardson and Ransom are now making plans to run a marathon together.

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