Youth pastor goes home to heal after heart stops at gym

EVERETT — A youth pastor who was saved by friends, strangers and medics after collapsing on an Everett YMCA basketball court last month has been released from the hospital and is beginning rehabilitation.

Cameron Stevens, 24, has made steady strides in his recovery,

“It started off slow, but it has really been astronomical progress in the last few days,” The Rev. Billy Wheeler said.

Stevens barely had cracked a sweat when his heart stopped beating the morning of Nov. 18. He was playing basketball with co-workers from Calvary Everett Church at the time.

He first was given CPR by Wheeler and later by workers from the YMCA.

When Everett Fire Department paramedics arrived minutes later, Stevens had a faint heart beat.

Stevens awoke from a medically induced coma Nov. 22 with his wife, Kelsy, by his side.

“When he smiled, I started crying like a baby,” said Wheeler, who served in the Marines.

Stevens struggled with pneumonia for more than a week but is now walking and talking and regaining his memory.

He remembers nothing about the day he collapsed.

He is, however, grateful to those who helped him.

“I have told him the story five times,” Wheeler said. “We would love to go back to the Y and thank them.”

The plan is for Stevens to get an internal defibrillator in the event his heart stops beating again.

Doctors still aren’t sure if cardiac arrest led to a seizure or a seizure led to cardiac arrest, Wheeler said.

Stevens looks forward to getting back to being a youth pastor, but there is no timeline, Wheeler said.

Prayers from across the country continue to be shared through social media.

A fund for medical expenses has been established for Stevens at US Bank in the name of “Heart for Cameron.” Donations also can be made through the church, 2802 Wetmore Avenue, Everett, WA, 98201. To learn more, go to http://bit.ly/1cYgpdh.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com

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