On a gurney was not the way Frank Ueberschar envisioned crossing the finish line Sunday in the Times Colonist 10K.
The 49-year-old Ladysmith man collapsed on Belleville Street just metres from the line.
“My heart stopped,” he said Monday from his bed at Royal Jubilee Hospital. “If medical help — chest compressions and defibrillation — had not gotten to me right away, my heart would not have restarted.”
Ueberschar said he is extremely grateful to members of the Times Colonist 10K medical team and director Martin Wong, who saved his life. “I can’t thank them enough.”
Ueberschar was lucky to collapse where he did, as volunteer medical staff and ambulance crews were immediately called in to help.
As a member of Ladysmith Search and Rescue, Ueberschar is in excellent physical condition. He played rugby at Shawnignan Lake School and has also been heavily involved in the martial arts.
“I’m in really great shape. This was caused by a scar-tissue incident from some time ago,” explained Ueberschar, who is an artist by trade.
“The condition is not necessarily induced by rigorous activity, but it may have helped bring it on. My heart does not have the proper rhythm. The doctors are looking at medications that can help, or the possibility of an ICD.”
ICD stands for implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which can correct most life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
Ueberschar has received more than 300 emails and texts since Sunday.
Unable to answer each individually, he asked a nurse at Royal Jubilee to take his picture giving a thumbs-up, and post it to his Facebook page.
Ueberschar said he is doing well. “I feel like I can run down the hall.”
But he realizes that some things will change.
Among them, his swift-water rescue-training course scheduled for next month will probably have to be postponed till next year.
And there’s another thing he plans on doing next year.
Asked if he will attempt the Times Colonist 10K in 2016, Ueberschar responded without hesitation.
“Oh, heck, yeah.”