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Who does your heart beat for?

Thorin's Story

Thorin's Heartbeat Story

“I may be little, but my heart beats strong.”
Thorin, congenital heart defect

Thorin’s mom describes him as a happy baby with a laid back demeanor. He knows how to take what comes. But then again, you could say Thorin has a heightened sense of perspective, having faced a bigger life challenge at six months than most of us will experience in a lifetime.

Thorin’s mom, Amanda, was 22 weeks pregnant when her obstetrician suggested she get some tests done on his heart. Amanda’s daughter was born with a congenital heart defect, so there was a risk that her second child faced a similar diagnosis. That’s when Amanda and Thorin were teamed up with Dr. Jeremy Archer, pediatric cardiologist and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for a fetal echocardiogram. The imaging showed Tetralogy of Fallot, a rare condition caused by a combination of four heart defects present at birth.

Baby Thorin came into the world with a hole in his heart, surrounded by a team of specialists. A week later he was sent home, and fives month later, an open-heart surgery repaired his heart.

Thorin is now a thriving boy who is quick to charm those around him with his wide smile. Since this diagnosis, Thorin and his mother have learned that Thorin shares his rare condition with Olympic snowboarder Shaun White. Who knows, Thorin may have a future in the half-pipe. Until then, what is certain is that his future remains very, very bright.


Josie's Story

Josie's Heartbeat Story

“When my heart stopped beating his kiss brought me back to life.”
Josie Evans, CPR Survivor

In the middle of a cross fit workout almost two years ago, Josie Evans dropped to the ground. Her boyfriend Keenan, an EMT, thought she was having a seizure. After all, Josie, who was 28 at the time, is a former college basketball athlete who took her physical activity very seriously. She was arguably in the best shape of her life.

No one could have predicted what happened next.

Josie began convulsing. Her head tipped back, and then…within a matter of seconds…nothing. No pulse.

Keenan quickly began CPR – something he was trained to do, but nothing he ever imagined doing for his girlfriend whose physical capabilities rivaled most of her peers.

Another gym-goer called 911.

Two years later, Josie, a nurse at Billings Clinic, has no recollection of this event other than the aftermath of waking up bewildered in an ICU room and wondering what happened.

Josie was diagnosed with a rare heart condition call catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia by Loren Budge, MD, electro physiologist at Billings Clinic. Because of the condition, she’s looked death in the eye and has come out alive – all thanks to the life-saving CPR performed by her boyfriend, Keenan.

A lot of couples remember their first kiss as the moment that brings them together. In Josie and Keenan’s case, it’s not the kiss that brought them together but the one that kept them together, the one that matters most.


TJ's Story

TJ Hanes and Family

-This embarrassing family photo was brought to you by strangers
who called 911.

"When I woke up on Memorial Day, my only plan for the day was a trip to the shooting range. It’s hard to believe three hours later, I’d be lying in the ICU of Billings Clinic.

After all, when I’d arrived at the shooting range at 9:00 a.m., I felt fine…other than a bit of back pain. But as I walked to the firing line I suddenly felt fatigued. I sat on my tailgate to take a break, but my symptoms kept getting worse. I told myself I was just tired. I told myself it was heartburn. I told myself it was the flu. But the truth was the thought of even loading my shooting gear back into my vehicle seemed overwhelming.

I called my wife, but the strangers at the shooting range knew better and called 911. The next few minutes became a blur of paramedics and questions, and a fast trip to the hospital. Before I knew it, I was face to face with a heart doctor at Billings Clinic who was very clear in his diagnosis: I was having a massive heart attack. I needed surgery, and I needed it now.

My mind was racing with worry about work, my family and life after heart surgery. But to my surprise, I was awake (though slightly sedated) during the procedure, which only took about 30 minutes. As the team quickly worked to open my artery, I suddenly felt immediate relief.

While in recovery, my wife and I talked about all of the people who gave me a second chance at life: the strangers at the shooting range who called 911, the paramedics who activated the heart attack intervention team at Billings Clinic, and the doctors and nurses who prepared for my arrival and subsequently saved my life.

I’m in my 50s. I’m not overweight. I’m active. If a heart attack can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Know the signs. Accept the help. Call 911. Thanks to many people, I’ve been given more time with my wife and two boys, and I’m so very grateful."


John R. Burg MD Cardiac Center

For an appointment or for more information: 406-238-2000 or 1-800-332-7156

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