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Tucson man thanks friends for saving his life

Posted at 3:53 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 21:10:33-04

A Tucson man says he would not be alive if it weren't for his friends, paramedics, and a crucial piece of technology.

Larry Oremland was playing tennis January 25, at the Tucson Racquet Club when his heart stopped and he died. Technically speaking, he was dead, Oremland said.

But his life didn't end because the people around him knew how to use an automatic external defibrillator.

“I knew immediately that it was a sudden cardiac arrest. I just knew it,” said Diane Stuwart, a friend.

Diane Stuwart was playing on the next court when she saw her friend fall and she rushed over to him and called for help.  

“I flipped him over and saw that he was dead,” she said.

Larry's heart was stopped for four minutes. Paramedics used an AED to jumpstart his heart.

“That thing saved his life. Without that, this wouldn't be happening right now,” said Gretchen Schantz, a tennis instructor who is one of five people who helped Oremland that day.

He says he still doesn’t remember what happened.

“I walked out I think to practice net shots, and next thing that I remember was five or six days later walking up at Banner UMC,” he said.

Eight weeks after he collapsed, Larry is now walking, smiling, and showing his gratitude.

Thursday, he and the Tucson Fire Department presented Oremland’s five heroes with a special award for helping to save him during the department’s annual award ceremony.

Now, Oremland and his wife, Terry, say everyone should learn CPR and how to use an AED if they can so they can be ready to act in an emergency.

“When you talk about how fragile and precious every day is that is the bottom line,” said Terry Oremland.