Andre Van Driesten was less than a kilometre from home when he collapsed behind the wheel from an epileptic seizure.
Luckily, the chain of survival worked seamlessly that February day to help save the 16-year-old’s life.
While Andre’s passenger steered into a ditch to safety, another called 911. In an unrelated incident, a train and car had collided nearby, adding to the confusion.
An off-duty paramedic freed herself from that incident to help Andre. The teenager’s heart had stopped and his eyes were dilated.
There was a defibrillator onsite, but it was on the other side of the train in an ambulance. He was cut off from every exit route. Luckily, crews received permission to pull the train apart so the ambulance could drive through.
While in the ambulance en route to Fort Macleod Health Centre, paramedics started Andre’s heart, but it was faint. STARS was already in the air, ready to take him to Foothills Medical Centre.
Andre’s father, John Van Driesten could see the situation unfolding from his kitchen window down the highway. He raced to the scene and was there as crews loaded his son into the helicopter.
“I was sure he’d taken his last breath,” he said. “The pilot said he was in great hands and they had all the equipment onboard needed.”
Three days later Andre awoke and, with the exception of a defibrillator inside his chest which shocks him as needed, he continues to live as a typical teenager.
Andre recently helped us kick off the STARS Alberta Lottery in Calgary where he was reunited with his nurse, Pat Jeffery at the show home.
Andre’s mom and dad smile every time they see STARS in the sky.
“Without STARS Andre would not be with us today,” said John