Jennifer Abrams submitted 2020-03-15

Choosing Molloy College to pursue a degree in Cardiovascular Technology was never a question in my mind. An event that took place back on March 21, 1997 was my sole motivation for researching this degree later in life. Let me take you back to November 1996.

I was visiting local colleges while in my senior year at Massapequa High School. My top three choices were Molloy, Hofstra and Dowling. Although Hofstra had offered the smallest scholarship package, ultimately, I was leaning towards Financial or Mathematics related majors. At the time, I thought the Hofstra School of Business would be the best fit.

Now fast forward to March 20, 1997. That was the last night I spoke with my father. My last words to him were, “Good Night,” and I went to bed. That is something that I will never forget. The next day I went to school and work, as I normally did on a Friday. My neighbor showed up at my job, saying that she had to take me to the hospital. No one would tell me what was going on. When I walked in and saw my entire family in the room, I immediately knew something terrible had happened. They informed me that my 48-year-old father had suffered a heart attack. The cardiologist informed my mother and me that his heart had actually recovered from the heart attack. He suffered complete brain inactivity due to a lack of oxygen for more than 10 minutes. My mother simply had not found him in time, nor did she know CPR even if she had found him lying on the couch earlier. We spent three weeks sleeping in chairs next to him in the CCU, until we had to make the hardest decision anyone has to in this life; do we remove the ventilator, knowing there was really no hope left, or do we move him to a nursing home for potentially another 30 years?

My father was my best friend in life, and unfortunately, I was only able to spend 17 years of it with him. There isn’t a day that goes by that I regret not being home with my mother and him when all of this took place. Maybe if I had been there, I would have found him in time. On the other hand, I didn’t know CPR back then, so maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. I now take CPR certification classes whenever my employers offer them. I have learned so much from the classes, and it pains me to think that the repetition of thirty chest compressions and two breaths could have been the key to saving my father’s life all those years ago. He was already lying on the couch flat, so it would have been a matter of checking his airway, tilting his head back a bit, and starting chest compressions until the EMT could arrive. It just made me realize how important is for everyone to learn CPR (including AED machines and life saving techniques, in general). It can literally mean a matter of life and death for people. For my father, it would likely have meant that he would still be here today.

I would have changed course back in 1997, but with the loss, confusion and turns that our lives took, I wanted to continue with the decision that my father was aware of before passing away. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hofstra with a BBA in Banking & Finance and a minor in Mathematics. I have since had the fortune of getting married, becoming a homeowner and have had a wonderful career getting me to this stage of life. Now it’s time for me to try and give back in my own way. I saw the value in life saving techniques 20 plus years ago, as well as the importance of being physically fit in order to be successful using these techniques. Personally, I would treat every patient as if they were a family member. Each individual is important and deserves every ounce of energy one has in order to save his/her life, no matter what the situation.

Life is precious. If I can help even one person avoid suffering through my family’s experience at such young ages, the entire degree - all the money and time spent on it - would be well worth it. That is why, at 40 years of age, I am looking to pursue another degree in order to help change someone’s life for the better.