Harrison Malec’s Heart

It’s a compelling story, though one that did not receive much publicity at the time.

On September 14, Harrison Malec was running with fellow youth rowers from the Saugatuck Rowing Club.  Suddenly, the 14-year-old collapsed.

Teammate Will Cromwell immediately started CPR.  Coach Sharon Kriz called 911.  Westport EMS paramedics were there within 4 minutes, followed by police and fire personnel.

They took over CPR, applied a cardiac monitor, shocked Harrison’s heart back into a normal rhythm, stabilized him, and took him to the hospital.

Tests revealed an extremely rare cardiac abnormality. After open heart surgery, Harrison returned to school 6 weeks later.  He’s expected to fully recover.

To say thanks, William Raveis Realty — where Harrison’s mother Joelle works — held a fundraiser for EMS.  The Malec family then presented Westport EMS members with a check and a plaque.

Harrison Malec (3rd from left), his parents, coach, Raveis representatives and EMS members -- including coordinator Marc Hartog, 2nd from right -- at the presentation. (Photo/April Book)

Marc Hartog, EMS coordinator, said that in over 30 years as a paramedic, he could could on two hands the number of cardiac arrest patients he’s treated who walk out of the hospital to lead fully productive.

And, he added, “this is the first time one of them has come back in person to thank us.”


EMS and other people save your life, and you don’t go back to thank them?!

How could those people have been saved?  They didn’t even have hearts to begin with.

(For information on CPR classes — offered free to Westport residents — click here or call 203-341-6030.)

4 responses to “Harrison Malec’s Heart

  1. “Teammate Will Cromwell immediately started CPR” and apparently kept it up for 4 minutes. Wow (there is more than one lead in this story)! All in all, another example of our good people belying the “selfish” cliche. Congratulations to everyone involved.

  2. *Harrison Malec

  3. CPR should be a graduation requirement at Staples.

  4. The reason so few come back to say “thank you” is because ONLY 1% of adolescents & young adults who have cardiac event like this survive! That’s why our family & Harrison thought it was so important to raise funds & awareness. We hope that more people will get trained in CPR & that every police car & emergency vehichle is equipped with an AED & are as well trained as Westport Volunteer EMS. We are truly thankful this Thanksgiving…while the worst happened to Harrison on Sept 14th…everything that took place in the minutes after he collapsed saved his life!