Each February our nation celebrates heart month, however this particular February has extra special meaning to the staff at Twiggs Salon. On January 5, 2016, an extended family member and staff member of the salon Steve Gavurnik went into cardiac arrest at a Caribou Coffee. Heroic bystanders made quick decisions that played a crucial role in not only saving Steve’s life but also significantly reducing the possibility of irreversible damage to his brain and other vital tissues. June Vanvalkenberg, Bob Fisher (“Bob the Shoeman”) wasted no time when they heard a loud noise and saw a fellow Caribou customer fall at the counter. Their immediate 911 call, team efforts to administer CPR and true heart for their community – even a complete stranger – gave Steve the fast attention he needed. The Wayzata Fire Department along with Wayzata police officers were the first responders to arrive onsite, and the police officer began administering the automated external defibrillator (AED) machine which played a significant role in Steve’s survival.
For June this scene hit very close to home, as she lost her 26-year-old daughter in 2015 from cardiac arrest that occurred while she was alone in her home. Brookley Wofford, Miss Minnesota United States 2015 who is also a client and the publicist for Twiggs Salon, found herself in a similar situation at a local restaurant while visiting her family in Mississippi this January. “I heard a family behind me screaming, ‘He’s choking!’ However, I could tell he wasn’t choking – he was going into cardiac arrest. I dialed 911 as I began to make sure he received CPR. His family was in tears thanking me. My dad passed when I was young due to slow response during cardiac arrest. Knowing that I was able to help a father remain with his family longer was the only ‘thank you’ I needed.”
An estimated 525,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States, and on average one of 10 people who suffer cardiac arrests outside of hospitals survive. Even when cardiac arrests begin – outside or inside the walls of a hospital – rapid response is key. Every minute that an individual experiencing cardiac arrest goes without defibrillation treatment, the chance of survival decreases – by 7% in the first 3 minutes and 10% thereafter.
In an era seemingly filled with devastating stories about communities being torn apart due to unfortunate events, these recent events serve as proof that the true spirit of community does still rest in our hearts. The owner of Twiggs Salon, Shauna Raisch, said, “As a local business owner in a small town, I have truly been able to see the real meaning behind community. It’s easy to take things for granted, but when you’re faced with something of this nature it puts everything back into prospective.”
Inspired by Steve’s journey to full recovery, the wealth of community support and stories that have came forth from others, Twiggs Salon is aiming to not only give back to those who helped save a beautiful life but the entire community as well. Steve will be joining the Wayzata Fire Department in the coming months to share his story as Twiggs Salon takes efforts to make the Wayzata community heart healthy. The salon is making plans to host a workshop featuring CPR training and education focusing on understanding the signs and symptoms of heart related issues such as stroke and cardiac arrests. Imagine the impact we can have if everyone in our community is armed with the knowledge to save the life of someone they love or a complete stranger.
As Steve continues to recover he did want to say a few words, “I am thankful to everyone who played a role in helping save my life. The caring spirit of the community and continued outreach from those involved is helping fuel my desire to recover quickly. I hope this story reminds people to always care for others around and help out when you can.”
*Statistics were noted from Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation*