'One big miracle': Strangers save a life at St. Albert curling rink

A St. Albert man says a string of little miracles helped save his life.

Neil McKay was in the middle of a game at the St. Albert Curling Club on Dec. 3 when he felt woozy and passed out. 

He was having a heart attack. His teammates called for help.

Working the bar upstairs was licensed practical nurse Jessica Hoekstra, who rushed down to help.

"I got him on his back and I just started doing compressions," Hoekstra said. "I did know what to do in that situation. So those instincts kick in." 

On the next sheet was a firefighter who offered to help. As he took over compressions, Hoekstra fired up a defibrillator, which had been donated to the club several years ago.

'It's almost unvelievable'

About two minutes after a shock was administered, McKay regained consciousness and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

"It's almost unbelievable how all of these little bits and pieces of miracles added up into one big miracle," McKay, 70, said in a recent interview with CBC.

Hoekstra, who hasn't seen him since, said she looks forward to the day McKay is back at the club. 

"I want to give him a big hug make sure that he's doing all right," Hoekstra said. "It's just a miracle."

McKay is now recovering and making plans to show his gratitude.

"They saved my life," he said. "Because the ambulance, while it was only five minutes away, that would would not have been quick enough. I don't know how you even begin to thank somebody for what they did."