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Benefit in Cyrus on Saturday to help heart attack victim

CYRUS, Minn. - When Chad Larson and his wife, Theresa Larson retired for the evening on Nov. 28, 2011, little did they know that the very next morning, their lives would be turned upside down. The next day, Chad had a heart attack at age 42. But, with the efforts of many well-trained medical personnel, (the Larsons also credit the power of prayer), Chad has not only survived, but has almost completely recovered.

On the morning of Nov. 29, 2011, Chad awoke with pains in his chest. At 8:15 am he told Theresa that he felt sick. Chad stated that he felt like "something was caught in my chest." When Theresa went out of the room to get the phone, she returned to find that Chad had passed out on the floor and had stopped breathing.

Theresa immediately dialed 911 and attempted to follow the dispatcher's instructions to begin CPR. She remembers, "I was in a panic mode, trying to stay focused and follow what she (the dispatcher) was saying. Chad wasn't breathing and I couldn't find a pulse." It was only two minutes since the phone call was made that First Responder Bob Tirevold arrived at the Larson home. He immediately started CPR and gave Chad oxygen. Tirevold later credited Theresa with doing the right thing. He later recalled, "Theresa called 911 right away. She didn't wait or call family or friends first. That made the difference. Theresa did a great job."

The EMT's soon arrived, and Chad was transported to the emergency room at Stevens Community Medical Center. Theresa recalled that it was then that she truly realized how serious Chad's condition was. "I remember seeing them use the defibrillator several times and I knew Chad was really in trouble." Theresa's pastors, Tom Fangmeier and Noah Hamer of Hosanna Worship Center in Morris met Theresa there along with Chad's parents, Roger and Rose Larson and Theresa's stepfather, Duane Beers.

They all began to pray. And, the medical staff got to work. "They (SCMC medical personnel) got Chad's heart to start beating again," Theresa stated, "but then his heart would stop. As we prayed, it seemed strange. I was overwhelmed but at the same time, I felt such comfort. I knew I had to put Chad's health in God's hand."

Because of Chad's critical condition, it was decided that he would be air-lifted to St. Cloud Hospital where he was immediately rushed to surgery. Theresa was hoping for some comforting news, but stated, "When Chad came out of surgery, they told me that they were concerned about possible brain damage due to the amount of time his heart had stopped beating." It was estimated that it could have been 25 minutes or more that Chad's brain was without oxygen.

Theresa stated that it was only after Chad was stabilized and his condition improved, that the medical staff told her about Chad's initial survival assessment upon admittance to the hospital. Theresa recalled, "The doctors at the St. Cloud Hospital told me that Chad's arrival condition was very critical and that his initial survival rate was estimated to be three to five percent." In regards to his recovery, she added, "It's truly miraculous." Chad was released from the St. Cloud hospital after 13 days.

Chad is now back home in Cyrus and has returned to doing almost everything he did before. He says that he feels "super, super lucky." The Larsons are still facing medical bills and a benefit dinner for them is scheduled for Saturday, March 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Cyrus Elementary School in Cyrus. Co-sponsors for the Larson benefit are Trinity Lutheran of Cyrus and Hosanna Worship Center of Morris. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will be managing the benefit. The public is invited.