‘Walking miracle’ looks for saviors 

The man who suffered a massive heart attack at the finish line of the Bay to Breakers in May is spending part of his recovery searching for the two fellow runners whose swift and selfless actions helped save his life.

“My survival defied all odds,” said 52-year-old Ken Byk, the Menlo Park runner who collapsed amid throngs of athletes at end of the 12-kilometer footrace from downtown to Ocean Beach.

Byk said he suffered two heart attacks that day — one at the finish line, and another after he was transported to UC San Francisco. He lacked a pulse for 20 minutes after convulsing on the concrete. His doctors called him a “walking miracle,” saying he had severely clogged arteries and that he would have died had it not been for the runners who came to his aid.

Since then, Byk has been on a mission to personally thank his saviors. The Examiner was able to track down one of them: Tara Graham, 41, of Redding, a California Highway Patrol officer and emergency room nurse.

Graham said she had already completed the race and was watching finishers from the spectator section when she saw Byk collapse. She tried shouting for help, but opted to hop two security fences and begin CPR.

Moments later, another runner who was finishing, an anesthesiologist, jumped in and began chest compressions.

The force she applied broke three ribs, which helped keep his heart going again, Byk said.

Byk is still searching for the anesthesiologist.

“I owe my life to them,” Byk said, adding that he’s amazed they didn’t give up when he lacked a pulse. “I have a second chance at life, and I’m so grateful for that.”

Byk underwent quadruple-bypass surgery two days later and said his recovery has been swift.

“I [helped him] because that that is somebody’s dad, brother, son,” Graham said. “You just have no idea how excited I am he is alive.”


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