COLUMBIA CITY — Corinna (Raypole) Armour is used to helping save lives on a regular basis. When the nurse went on vacation in California for her first anniversary, she never could have expected what unfolded.
On the day of her anniversary, Armour and her husband, Andrew, decided to rent bicycles in San Fransisco and ride them toward the Golden Gate bridge.
“Most people rode across it, but for some reason we decided not to, and went down the extremely hilly coastline instead,” Armour said.
As they struggled on the hills, Armour and her husband bickered about their decision, whining about how tired their legs were.
Everything changed when they realized they were exactly where God wanted them to be, Armour said.
The couple witnessed a man fall off his bike at the top of a hill in front of them.
“We watched him fall off right in front of us,” Armour said. “I just thought he had a head injury because he was having seizure-like activity.
She ran to the man and put her hand under his head to prevent it from hitting the ground during the seizure.
“That’s when I noticed the back of his head bleeding,” Armour said.
She used her husband’s sweatshirt to put pressure on the wound, and another bystander called 911.
“Pretty much 10 seconds into this, I noticed John’s breathing change and he started turning blue,” Armour said.
She couldn’t find a pulse, and began CPR until the ambulance arrived. When first responders took over, the Armours looked through his bag to find someone to contact.
“Andrew opened his phone and it was in a different language,” Armour said. “I opened his wallet and immediately saw pictures of his two children, which made my stomach drop.”
After more CPR, medications and defibrillation by the first responders, the man’s heart was beating before they took him to the hospital.
John Kraak is from the Netherlands and was biking with coworkers while on a business trip in San Francisco. After his coworkers realized he was no longer behind them, they came back to find the Armours.
“They were in front of him going down the hill when it happened, and it took them awhile to realize he wasn’t behind them anymore,” Armour said.
Kraak and his coworkers climbed a very steep hill and had to carry their bikes over their shoulders. When they got to the top of the hill, he stopped for a moment to catch his breath before heading down.
“When I jumped on my bike and went downhill, after 10 meters I had a complete blackout and fell from my bike,” Kraak said. “I never saw Corinna and I don’t remember falling from my bike. The next think I remember I was waking up at the ER.”
Though he never saw her, Kraak is forever grateful for her quick response.
“Corinna gave the right CPR treatment until the ambulance came. My blood flow had stopped due to cardiac arrest. It prevented brain damage,” he said. “It’s a miracle that Corinna was with me at the right place at the right moment with the right knowledge — I am so thankful to her.”
More than saving Kraak’s life, Corinna lifted the spirits of the firefighters, who were having a bad day themselves.
“A firefighter came back to me after they loaded John into the ambulance. She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a huge hug,” Armour said. “With tears in her eyes, she told me that they had lost one of their own firefighters that morning. They had done CPR on him but it didn’t work. She said it felt so good after what happened to their friend earlier that day.”
Though unexpected on her honeymoon, Armour has made a career of saving lives. After graduating from Columbia City High School in 2011, Armour went to the University of Indianapolis for nursing, then landed her “dream job.” Armour works in the pediatric intensive care unit at Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital, where she has been for the past 2.5 years.
“I have been in quite a few emergency situation, which was how I was able to stay so calm during that situation,” Armour said. “I have learned how to assess a situation and do whatever I need to do to keep them alive.”
Armour works with children from newborns to 17 years old, including children on ventilators and babies after open heart surgery.
No matter her training, Corinna said the event that unfolded Oct. 10 in San Francisco was “definitely a God moment.”
“I was hand picked to be there and I’m so thankful that I was chosen to help John,” Armour said. “This man was able to go home to be with his family and I was reminded why I do what I do.”