SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA — A survivor of sudden cardiac arrest and the great samaritan who saved his life ran the Bay to Breakers together again this year. In 2010, Ken Byk crossed the finish line and fell to the ground into cardiac arrest. At that same moment, Ruth and Andy Rogers crossed the finish line. Andy saw Ken go down, and he pointed him out to Ruth. She noticed Ken was unconscious, and began to perform CPR on him. Ruth asked bystanders to call 911 and bring her an automated external defibrillator (AED). Using the AED, Ruth shocked Ken multiple times. In addition, she and others performed aggressive CPR.
Ken made a full recovery, but he did not know whom to thank for saving his life. He was told he owed his life to a female anesthesiologist, and had one poor picture to go on. Using the media, he spent a year trying to identify and locate her with no luck. After running the Bay to Breakers the following year, the San Francisco Examiner printed a photo that Ken had not seen that included Ruth’s racing number. Ken used this number to identify Ruth, and was finally able to contact her.
Ken and Ruth reunited last year to run the Bay to Breakers together, and this year they will continue their tradition. Twenty-five friends and family members will join them to celebrate Ken’s amazing survival story. The Via Foundation will present Ruth its inaugural Great Samaritan Award for Ruth’s heroic actions, as well as a free AED to give to a school or organization of her choice.
About the Via Foundation
The Via Foundation helps save lives by raising funds for, and placing, automated external defibrillators in schools and communities. Their CPR training and program management solutions give communities the skills and equipment necessary to help prevent unnecessary deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. For more information, visit theviafoundation.org.