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Marathon heart attack victim meets lifesavers

By OMER YUSUF The Jackson Sun

JACKSON, Tenn. -- Feeling great as he approached the finish line, Bill Akin earned second place in the men's 65 to 69 age division at the Andrew Jackson Marathon.

After receiving his medal, Akin walked for about 10 feet before collapsing after suffering a heart attack.

Medical staff arrived within seconds of Akin falling, shocking him with an AED and bringing him back to life.

"I was out and I didn't know what was happening until they took me out into the ambulance," Akin said.

"At that point, my thought process was hard to describe. I was blessed with the expertise of the fireman, the paramedics and how fast they responded on me."

Akin had the chance last Monday to personally thank the medical staff who saved his life at the annual Andrew Jackson Marathon Celebration at the Jackson Chamber.

Akin said he could not thank the medical staff enough for saving his life.

"I think (they were) God's angels," Akin said. "He knew I was coming to the finish line and put those people in place to bring me back."

Lynn Mooney, emergency response director for the Jackson-Madison County Health Department, who assisted Akin in getting back to life, said first responders do not often have stories such as Akin's.

Mooney said Akin was fortunate to fall where he did.

"It would've probably been a different outcome (if he had fallen elsewhere) just because of having to get out there to him," Mooney said. "The logistics of moving, which is what EMS does every day and they do a great job with it, but sometimes when time is not on your side, things don't turn out the way you want them."

Danny Crossett, Andrew Jackson Marathon director, said he had his back turned when Akin had fallen and by the time he turned around medical staff had begun working on him.

"When they were down on the ground and doing the CPR and hooking up the AED I was about to cry," Crossett said. "It was really hard, I was scared to death; and then when I realized who it was -- a friend of mine."

Crossett said the amount of time between Akin's fall and hearing he would be OK was short, but it felt far longer.

"Once they said he's back, I knew it was OK," Crossett said.

Akin said the experience has brought a different perspective and he plans to run in next year's marathon.

Marathon presents check to Carl Perkins Center

Also at the celebration the Andrew Jackson Marathon Committee presented a $61,000 check to the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

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