How Almost Losing Your Daughter Changes You

While staying fairly active on Twitter, the site began to slowdown as the pandemic grew. Life just has a way of prioritizing itself and for me that became my family, my career, and my hobby, this website fell to the bottom of the rung. My intentions this past summer were to reboot the website and start back over sharing vinyl figure news and rumors.

Then May 18, 2021 happened.

My 13 year old daughter Audrey was excited about getting to school because it was Field Day. She hadn’t told my wife and I about any details but we knew she was excited about it. Later that morning, I was in my classroom when a frantic employee ran to my door screaming you have to go: something happened to Audrey. I ran out of the room while my wife was running up the hall from her classroom and she yelled we have to go Audrey doesn’t have a pulse. I froze and broke down but kept going as my wife yelled again. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life.

We drove to the football field across from the middle school as we see hundreds of students frantically being evacuated from the stands. As we pulled into the field we see an obviously emergency situation. We were then told that Audrey while running collapsed. A coach ran to her and determined she was in a life threatening situation and he called 911 while the school nurse and another teacher ran to Audrey as well. The nurse yelled for the AED to be brought while the teacher performed CPR. After attaching the AED to her, it administered a shock and a faint heart beat returned. It instructed to keep doing CPR as the emergency medics showed up and took over.

She was in the back of the ambulance being treated when we arrived and they wouldn’t let us see her yet. Finally we were allowed to see her. She had been intubated and was unconscious. A helicopter was on its way to life flight her to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. My then senior in high school Lindsay, just a week away from giving her valedictorian speech, rushed to join us as our family was on the verge of its worst day. I had to call my 22 yr old daughter at the University of Georgia to break the news and we still had our 10 year old son at the elementary school. After a family hug and prayer, we sent Lindsay to get Garrett while we went to Atlanta.

Audrey a few days after the incident.

I can’t begin to say how traumatizing this day was. I broke down twice just typing this. Later the next day she finally woke up. Her mental faculties were fine. We were just now beginning the long process to find out what happened to her. Why did my little girl who ran cross country earlier that year almost died running a lap around the field? The outstand cardiologists and electrophysiologists suspected she had a rare genetic disorder called CPVT and a few months later, we did get that diagnosis confirmed.  She is on medication now and will soon have a loop recorder implanted just under her skin soon. Besides limiting her physical activity for the rest of her life, she will be okay. She was actually discharged from the hospital the day of her older sister’s graduation and she was allowed to attend. Honestly, this was one of the best days of our lives for several reasons.

I can’t say the same for me. I definitely have a form of PTSD from this and honestly I think that’s to be expected. For now, I’m trying to get by. Many days I’m fine. But some days, my patience for trivial matters is very thin. Imagine caring about filling out the right form at your office when your daughter had a near death experience? Do you know how many times during her cross country season I pushed her to run harder and faster? To give it all she has? We obviously didn’t know she had any underlying condition. I am so thankful nothing happened at a race where AEDs might not have been readily available. I can’t get those thoughts out of my head.

And if my daughter’s incident wasn’t bad enough, we’ve had a resurgence of the pandemic, my 18 yr old daughter has moved 700 miles away to Georgetown University in DC, and the rest of the world expects things to continue on as they were before. Work, friends, etc think I’m okay when they see me. But really, I’m not. I worry about Audrey constantly. I miss my older daughters who are in college and I want people to treat the pandemic seriously so we can get out of this mess. It’s also quite frustrating that the same people who prayed and sent well wishes about your daughter but refuse to wear a mask around a child with a heart condition. So yes, the world continues on but now we have extra layers of worry that frankly should be over now. Anyways, off of that tangent.

So what the heck does that have to do with You know, I’m not sure. I’ve had offers to sell the site and I listen. Yet, I love the people in this hobby so for the time being, I’m going to try and post stories and updates more often. Maybe more for me, than you. Maybe it will be cathartic for me. Give me an outlet again to distract me from the dark thoughts in my head about what almost happened or to maybe rejuvenate a part of me that has lost its way.

But I also want to be thankful. So many Funko collectors and friends reached out or sent a gift to help out Audrey. Radi Nabulsi, the Dawgvent nation, and contributed money to help us out. I can’t even begin to thank the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast group enough. So many donated to help us out to buy our own AED for the house and to help with bills. Brian Myers, I have to thank personally, for his donation. It’s nice to know us dads stick together. Five Guys found out how much my daughter loved their burgers and they sent her food, a hate, a shirt and an awesome cup. My alma mater cared about Audrey as well. AD Josh Brooks sent a great card along with an autographed football signed by Head Coach Kirby Smart.  I also want to show appreciation to 11Alive’s Kaitlin Ross for making Audrey’s story important to the community.

And thank to all of you for reading this and for all your care and concern you’ve shown our family during all of this.



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