Michael was only 29 years old when he suffered a fatal sudden cardiac arrhythmia (SCA). He was active in sports for most of his life and never exhibited any of the warning signs associated with SCA, such as episodes of dizziness, fainting, or seizures. He arrived at work on a beautiful February morning, got a cup of coffee with his colleagues, collapsed and died. People on the scene attempted to revive Michael using CPR, but there was no AED available, and by the time the paramedics arrived, Michael could not be saved. In a matter of moments, Michael was gone.
Michael was more of an “experience” than a story that can be put into words. His personality was boisterous and full of life and if he was in a room, you knew it. He wore his heart on his sleeve. Michael had a thirst for knowledge like no other and wanted to see and do everything. Whether you knew him for 5 minutes or for 20 years, he had an impact on you.
As a kid, Michael played baseball and basketball for the town of Hamden, Connecticut and attended Cheshire Academy in Connecticut where he played football and lacrosse for all four years of high school. The friends he made along the way all became lifelong friends and Michael was the glue that held them together. He went on to get his bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and his law degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego, where he met his wife, Azadeh. He was an avid golfer and skier, worked out regularly and was preparing to run his first half marathon with his sister in law.
Michael was a young, rising star in the legal community. He was a new husband, devoted to his wife and looked forward to sharing a long life with her. His plan for the weekend of February 5, 2010 was to go skiing with his friends and colleagues from work and be home in time to watch the Super Bowl with his wife.
Michael was a much loved husband, son, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew and friend. He left behind his bride of seven months, both of his parents, his older brother and younger sister, his niece and nephews, his maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and many friends and colleagues who were shocked and saddened by his sudden death. Michael’s love of family and friends, his intelligence, his humor, his unfaltering loyalty to his favorite teams (the Mets and the NY Giants) and his determination to hit great heights and do great things left us all bereft and wondering how this could have happened without any warning.
Sadly, many families share the ending of Michael’s story. SCA is often a silent killer, and CPR is rarely sufficient to save the life of someone who has an SCA.While SCA is hard to predict and prevent, survival rates can improve dramatically with the availability and use of AEDs, and the willingness of bystanders to act.
We carry on in the hope that Michael’s story shines a light on the need for and the importance of bystander education, and training in the use of and availability of AEDs so there are fewer sad endings for families who’s loved ones suffer an SCA. Michael’s presence in our lives was, and continues to be, a gift and we hope to be able to share this gift with others.