Lola Boyer is not even five months old, but she has already made a lifelong friend in Marcus Delgado.
Delgado was among the many participants in a charity three-on-three basketball tournament at Tahoma High School on Oct. 7 to raise funds for Lola, who has a rare heart condition that requires surgery. Delgado got to know Lola and her extended family more intimately than he ever imagined, when he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the court.
Fortunately for Delgado, Lola’s grandfather, Mike Boyer, is a Renton firefighter and was at the gym, serving as a court monitor. So was family friend Kent Knight, a captain for Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority. Boyer and Knight ran to Delgado’s aid immediately and began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Two more off-duty firefighters, Nate Crawford and Michael Boyer, Lola’s uncle, assisted. As the firefighters worked to restore Delgado’s heartbeat, Lola’s dad, Tahoma High School health and fitness teacher Mitch Boyer, sprinted toward the nearest automated emergency defibrillator and brought it to the stricken ballplayer’s side.
When it became clear that CPR was not enough, the off-duty firefighters used the defibrillator to shock Delgado’s heart into rhythm. Firefighters from Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety arrived shortly after that and Delgado was transported to the hospital by King County Paramedics.
On Nov. 1, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority commissioners honored Knight with a special award “in appreciation of his actions of performing CPR and utilizing an automatic external defibrillator on a community member while off duty. Because of his and others quick and professional response on October 7, 2017, a life was saved.”
Delgado, who spent seven days in the hospital, attended the award ceremony, which was punctuated by many hugs, handshakes, smiles and a few tears.
“It’s very ironic that we had that string of events,” he said, referring to his decision to play in a basketball tournament to help Lola and then having a heart emergency of his own. “Literally, they will always be in my heart.”
Knight said he hopes that the actions that he and the others took to help Delgado will serve to remind people of the importance of knowing CPR and having access to automated emergency defibrillators like those at Tahoma High School.
“Probably, Marcus doesn’t survive if that wasn’t there for him,” he said.
To learn more about Lola and her journey, visit this website: https://posthope.org/lola