In November, Sam Palacio was finishing his workout at Sunshine Fitness’s Planet Fitness location in Palm Bay, Florida, when just a few feet away Mike DuBois suffered a massive heart attack.
Palacio jumped into action, performing CPR while the location’s manager retrieved the AED. Once the AED was no longer applicable, Palacio, a donor services team leader and phlebotomist with OneBlood, again conducted CPR until paramedics arrived.
Sunshine Fitness certifies staff in CPR annually, along with providing AED training, for situations just like this one. “We put the safety, health and well-being of our members first,” said Lynne Knowles, assistant to the vice president of operations. “We ensure emergency personnel are called regardless of the situation to have the member checked out and to give them the option of seeking further emergency treatment. Our members come first, and we want to make sure they are safe and happy.”
Upon arrival at the hospital, DuBois underwent surgery where it was discovered he had a 100 percent blockage of an artery to his heart. A stent was inserted to clear the blockage.
During his recovery, Dubois began seeking out the man who had saved his life. DuBois was able to track down Palacio through his best friend who is a regular blood donor at the bloodmobile where Palacio works. In April, OneBlood brought the two men together to reconnect.
With plans to recognize the two men this summer, Knowles said the incident embodies fully the culture and atmosphere of Sunshine Fitness and PF. “Our culture is to develop friendships and put our members first and create an atmosphere where our staff are taking care of members and our members are taking care of members,” she said. “Everyone knows each other by their first name. This is somewhere a member can come in and feel comfortable and not feel judged. It truly is the kindness and compassion of the Judgement Free Zone.”