WASHINGTON, D.C. - Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans die from a cardiac arrest. Survivors of cardiac arrest visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill recently, advocating for legislation to address this issue. 

“Senior year of high school I was an athlete, did a lot of lifting,” said 19 year-old Memphis, Michigan local Alexander Bowerson. Two years ago, the unexpected happened to him.  

“Never thought anything was wrong until my wrestling practice my senior year,” said Bowerson. “I was jogging in the hallway, running, got a tight pain in my chest and then hit the floor.” 

The cheer coach, who happened to also be an ER nurse, was nearby. She recognized Bowerson was going through a cardiac arrest. They began CPR and put an AED device on him. 

“Shocked me once and my heart got back its rhythm,” recalled Bowerson. “By the time the EMS got there I was conscious again.”   

He said the AED only had enough charge left in it for that one shock. Bowerson said if he needed a second shock the defibrillator most likely wouldn’t have been able to shock again. 

“I had a Christian experience through it and its the reason I'm a Catholic today and I just knew going through it that everything was going to be fine,” said Bowerson. “And I was not scared at all which is stunning to me.”  

The American Heart Association said each year, about 435-thousand people die from cardiac arrest. Last year, Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest during a game brought national attention to the issue. Hamlin even visited the Capitol to advocate to have better access to AEDs and the importance of knowing CPR.  

Bowerson spent time on the Hill with other people who share similar close call experiences. They’re advocating for the HEARTS Act and Access to AEDs Act. The legislation would help ensure students and school staff are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency as well as provide grants to schools to promote student access to defibrillator in in elementary and secondary schools.  

Bowerson said you don’t have to be an ER nurse to recognize someone is having a cardiac emergency.  

“These bills are going to save lives,” said Bowerson. 

The HEARTS Act passed out of committee and waiting on a floor vote. The Access to AEDs Act is still held up in committee.