SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (FOX 13) - Tony Kerns almost died but Monday he was all smiles when he reunited with the people that saved him.
"It was, you know, just a very surreal moment there," said Kerns.
Eight weeks ago, he was running in a 5K in Safety Harbor. As he neared the finish line, he collapsed. That's when registered nurse Jessica Fondren saw him lying on the ground and gasping for air.
"I initiated CPR by stimulating him if he was OK," said Fondren. "He didn't respond, so I checked for a pulse and found that he did not have a pulse. I immediately started chest compressions."
Fondren was the first of several people who played a part in saving Kerns' life. Nearby first responders also rushed to his aid. They shocked him and took him to the hospital.
"Even though there was paramedics that were there, having someone immediately get on the patient's chest and start compressions, it's extremely valuable at that point," explained Stephen Glastein, the Sunstar Paramedics' special operations supervisor who was on the scene that day.
Kerns had no prior heart conditions and had run a half marathon weeks before he collapsed. Kerns has made a full recovery after open heart surgery. He's back to work, too.
"I'm jogging out there, and I'm getting back to where I was before, and really just feeling better every day," he said.
"Getting to see how well he's doing, especially... he's laughing, he's joking, he looks great, and knowing that just a few short weeks ago, his heart had completely stopped and that's just a great feeling on the inside," said Fondren. "I can't even begin to put it into words."
She was there at the right place and right time.
"Because of where this happened, I was able to get immediate medical attention, be able to get the best medical attention possible from highly trained professionals, so that I'm able to be standing here today," said Kerns.