CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of strangers helped save Kevin DeBolt’s life after he collapsed during the Chicago Bears 5k on Saturday.
Debolt was one of more than 4,000 people who took part in the Chicago Bears 5K on the Lakefront Trail near Soldier Field on Saturday.
He joined in honor of his late wife, Carrie, who died in last spring. She had wanted them to run the race together.
“I knew I wasn’t going to run it, so I was way in the back,” he said.
He was moving along until he reached Mile 2, when he collapsed.
“The last thing I remember, it was like, ‘Ooh, something’s not right’” DeBolt said.
Jenelle McKinley, who has had first aid training, was just steps away.
“It was scary,” she said. “A complete stranger just collapsed in front of me.”
McKinley said she saw DeBolt collapse face-first out of the corner of her eye. Witnesses said DeBolt wasn’t breathing while McKinley and others performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator to keep him alive.
“I don’t think that I’m a hero,” McKinley said. “I’m a person that was trained to do something, and I did it, and I’d do it again, and I would hope that somebody would do that for my family.”
The team of strangers worked on DeBolt for 15 minutes before paramedics arrived and rushed him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was revived.
Debolt said he would not have made it without those strangers, especially McKinley.
“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time when Jenelle and them did whatever they did,” he said.
He said what McKinley did was “truly touching,” especially because of what he’s been through already this year.
“My wife passes away in April,” he said. “Is she watching out for me? Probably, I mean, because honestly I should not even be here today.”
DeBolt reached out to McKinley on Facebook and thanked her for saving his life. Although his doctors and nurses have said he can have visitors, DeBolt said he’s not ready emotionally to see her face-to-face. Once he is, he plans to take her out to dinner to thank her in person.
“Honestly, if I saw her now, I’d cry, and it would hurt my chest, and it would be a whole thing,” he said.
He’ll undergo more testing on Monday to determine why he collapsed.