August 7, 2017 was a day that started out like any other, but by the end, two men's lives changed forever.
George Dakin Jr., a 64-year-old architect, was out for a stroll when he suddenly collapsed on the sidewalk and went into cardiac arrest. His heart stopped, which means he was dead. However, 28 minutes later he returned to life.
No, he wasn't resuscitated by paramedics or doctors at a hospital. Dakin's life was saved by someone no one expected: Austin Davis, a homeless man sipping coffee nearby.
Dakin collapsed in front of CHAMP Homes Inc., a faith-based transitional shelter for the homeless in Massachusetts, and his loud cry for help caught Davis's attention.
Without hesitation, the 54-year-old performed CPR on Dakin for 10 minutes, until paramedics got to the scene. They were able to bring Dakin back to life after 18 additional minutes of CPR and defibrillator shocks.
While stories like this aren't as rare as many might think, there is something about this particular incident that makes it stand out from the rest.
Davis revealed that he had just received CPR training a few days prior, so saving Dakin was the the fourth time he's ever used his newly-acquired skill on someone.
Turns out, the architect had suffered a condition known as "the widowmaker," where the entire LAD artery is blocked. This type of cardiac arrest is almost always fatal, and had it not been for Davis's fast thinking, Dakin would not live to see another day.
“No one could believe it,” Dakin told Patch. “The ambulance folks didn’t believe it. The doctors didn’t believe it. They said if you’re in the hospital and you have an LAD blockage in the hospital you won’t survive it — even if you’re in the hospital!”
Following his recovery, Dakin got to know Davis a bit better, and he realized that his homelessness was brought on by circumstances beyond his control. Now that he's been given a new lease on life, Dakin decided to help Davis also get a fresh start at life. Along with his daughter, Jodi Dakin Loughlin, and the community, over $16,000 has been raised.
"Austin is not a drinker. He does not do drugs. He is always very well put together. He has a lovely personality and I know he can rise above this situation with our help," explained Loughlin. "He is doing EVERYTHING right to escape his circumstantial homelessness – but the hurdle is TREMENDOUS. Odds of escaping homelessness are about as bleak as walking away from a heart attack,” she added.
The money raised will be put towards a new car and gas cards for Davis, as well as a security deposit for an apartment, and health insurance. Their efforts have already started paying off - Davis was recently promoted to full-time at the hotel where he has been working before meeting the Dakins.
"The [General Manager] assured me that Austin is well worth this investment for the hotel, and he is an employee with great pride in his work and a wonderful personality," Loughlin said.
Loughlin's aim is to make Davis a success story for 2018, and it looks like it has been working. While Davis appreciates the support, he made it clear that he "wasn't expecting anything and I didn't want anything," adding, "I'm human and I need things, but that wasn't what I did it for."
We can't wait to see how Davis progresses in the next couple of months!