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Anthony's Story

Monday September 2nd, 2019. CrossFit Orangeville opened its doors, as usual, a little later than normal as it was Labour Day - the end of summer, and an opportunity for many to get back into a regular routine. Part of a "regular routine" for so many, is getting to the gym, or returning to the gym, for a workout.

As-is customary on a holiday Monday at the gym, the class schedule was reduced to just one class at 9:30am. The gym was only opening its doors for a few hours on Monday September 2nd in accordance with the holiday. This is an opportunity for many friends at the gym to socialize and see each other, potentially after not seeing each other for a few days or weeks off as summer winds down.

The gym was lively, with lots of chatter going on, lots of laughs and high fives, as members were preparing to tackle the day's WOD (workout of the day).

One member in particular, Anthony Melia, was in the mix as he always was, socializing and laughing with his fellow members. A member at CrossFit Orangeville for 2 years now, Anthony was not shy, and certainly no stranger to many of the members there. We all know Anthony as the guy to give everyone in the gym, not only the time of day, but also a boost, with his smile and friendly personality.

He was very happy and pumped up for the coming workout, despite how challenging it may be, his competitive nature always fired him up any time he stepped foot into CrossFit Orangeville. As a former professional athlete, Anthony has found a new love and passion for a sport that he never knew he had with CrossFit.

Since day one, he has come out and cheered on his fellow members at CrossFit competitions, hung around the gym to support and motivate his fellow members and friends, and just all around has been such a positive influence on everyone at CrossFit Orangeville and the Athlete Institute Training Centre.

Class began at 9:30am, with a group warmup, allowing members to start to increase their heart rate, and "speed up" to the demands of the workout coming up. This is when members socialize, joke around, chat about their summer holidays, etc. Anthony was notably excited for the coming workout, as the energy in the gym was high.

Once the warmup was complete, the workout was explained, including options for scaling, and the members were sent on their way to get set-up and ready. The workout was longer in duration, so class was aiming to get the workout started shortly after the top of the hour (10:00am).

About 10-15 minutes into the workout. Anthony began to labour a bit. Coach Tyler noticed that Anthony was out of breath and taking a quick break - but nothing too out of the ordinary, as the intensity of CrossFit workouts can push members both physically and mentally. Things quickly turned, however...

While observing the class, Coach Tyler saw Anthony at first, drop to his hands and knees, and then collapse face-down on the gym floor. Something was wrong...

Chris Bragger (York Regional Police Constable), Kris Cochrane, and Coach Tyler Robbins all ran over to, and began to assess what happened to Anthony. Kris Cochrane called for his wife Stephanie (Registered Nurse), who just so happened to be working out outside the gym at the time, to also come help. At the same time, John Neilson (Peel Regional Police Detective), who was warming up on the far side of the gym, instantly began calling 911 Emergency Services.

The rest of class stopped, as many members looked on wondering how they could help. Some ran to get wet towels, others offered any other help they could.

What transpired over the next 5 minutes was Stephanie, Chris, and John working heroically on Anthony by using both CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) and administering shocks with the gym's AED (automated external defibrillator) until the paramedics arrived.

Anthony was transported to Headwaters Health Care Centre where was stabilized, then transferred to Southlake Regional Health Care Centre in Newmarket where he made a full recovery before being discharged home.

If it was not for the quick actions of Stephanie, Chris, and John (as well as all the help from members in the gym) Anthony may not have survived this cardiac episode. Because of this, all three members were recognized for their heroic efforts by being awarded a Life-saving Award on February 13th, 2020.

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