Ellenton barber offers free CPR class after nursing student saved his life

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At Wendell Thorne's barbershop in Ellenton, you'll be greeted with life advice while you get a good old-fashioned cut and shave. 

He knows he's lucky; 77 days ago, Thorne almost died. 

"I started having these pains right here," he said, pointing to his chest. 

Thorne tried ignoring the signs, but as they got worse he knew his heart wasn't in good shape. 

"I had this overwhelming certainty that I would never be in this building again. I was sure that I was going to die," he said. 

He rushed to Ellenton Urgent Care just down the road. They recognized the signs of a heart attack. 

This was not just any heart attack, but a massive one: the kind they call a "widow maker." 

Paramedics loaded him onto an ambulance as a nursing student jumped into action. 

"She saw my eyes roll back into my head and she jumped up and started CPR," Thorne said. 

Her quick thinking saved his life. 

"It was made pretty clear to me if Deliana didn’t start compressions, I wouldn’t be here talking to you," he said. 

Thorne thanked everyone, but he wasn't quite finished. 

"They go home at night, say, "Hey, I resuscitated somebody. I brought them back.' But to me, it was a big deal," he said. 

Realizing the importance of CPR, he is now working with Manatee County EMS to offer a free CPR class hosted at his barber shop, His Place Barber & Grooming Shop. 

Thirty people have already signed up.

The class is full, but Thorne is considering hosting another CPR class. 

"They'll be armed with the knowledge that if they experience cardiac arrest they’ll be able to increase their odds of survivability," said Chief Jason Evans with Manatee Co. Emergency Medical Services. 

Thorne faced his odds and survived. Now he wants others to have that same chance. 

"To me it was a no brainer. To me it was, 'What am I supposed to do?'” he said.