RENTON, Wash. — Sara Clerget and her family are huge Seahawks fans. She, her mom and sister ran the team’s 12K race on April 13, but when she crossed the finish line, her heart stopped.
“I felt fine, but the second I stopped that’s when I started to feel super, super dizzy,” Clerget said Wednesday.
The 35-year-old mother of two young boys had gone into cardiac arrest.
“Coming to grips with what happened, it’s still surreal, you can’t fathom — I died, I died for two minutes,” she said.
Clerget was very lucky that day, because Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy Chuck Berg and his wife also ran the race. He teaches Advanced CPR and was able to save Clerget’s life.
“Me and my wife had just finsihed the 12K and we kind of high-five’d and my wife actually noticed it first,” Berg said. “She brought the lady to my attention. I looked over there and saw that she collapsed so we went over there immediately, got down and ended up checking on her and could see she’s in cardiac arrest.”
Near the finish line in Renton on Wednesday, he surprised Clerget with a visit.
“I was dead and he saw me laying there, he knew that I had no pulse and knew that I had no pulse, immediately did what he knew to do. I mean I can’t thank him enough.”
Clerget and her family had been in touch with Berg through social media but had not met him again in person to thank him until Wednesday.
Sara’s mom, Julie McKee, was especially moved to tears.
She had watched as Berg worked on her daughter.
“They said, ‘She’s taking a breath.’ It’s like you gave my life back to me, so thank you, I can’t ever thank you enough,” McKee told Berg as she hugged him.
Clerget has a defibrillator and is doing well now.
She and Berg plan to run the race together next year and to use what she went through to urge others to get CPR training.