John is a zealous advocate for heart-healthy choices and second chances.

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Dec. 17, 2011, John Kolker dropped dead of a sudden cardiac arrest, caused by a myocardial infarction at the age of 49.

Resuscitated at the scene by courageous volunteers trained in CPR with an AED, an automated external defibrillator, he spent three iffy days refusing to come out of a therapeutic hypothermia induced coma. Graciously, John came out of the coma and underwent successful cardiac catheterization and stent placement to two blocked coronary arteries.

John is an Army Veteran, was a smoker for 31 years, overweight since his release from active duty in the 90’s and severely inactive. He never went to the doctor for checkups. His lifestyle had killed him. With his second chance at life, John quit smoking and began frequent medical screenings and researching his rehabilitation options.

Researching on the web, John continued to find stories and videos of other survivors who had become Ironheart Foundation athletes. John recalls that day when he announced to his family that he would not go on disability, but would return to work and pursue his vision of becoming a triathlete.

For the first months, John could barely walk from the bed to the kitchen but gradually made it to the pool, onto the bike and the running track. He changed his diet and began training for endurance events. Not only has he lost over 56 pounds since his heaviest weight, but he has completed 12 sprint triathlons, several bike rides of over 50 miles to include one across the entire state of NJ. John joined the Ironheart Foundation. He met and was inspired by Ironheart Foundation founder, David Watkins when Dave made time to visit John in New Jersey in 2013.

John is a zealous advocate for heart-healthy choices and second chances. His involvement with Ironheart continues as he prepares for more sprint triathlons and long-distanced hikes in 2016 and 2017 to raise heart-health awareness and funds for Ironheart Foundation.

– John Kolker, Jackson, New Jersey