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‘I’m sorry I failed you:’ First responder writes emotional letter after 18-year-old’s death

Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 25, 2015

ORLANDO – A first responder’s emotional letter after an 18-year-old’s death is going viral.

Michael Namey, a freshman at the University of Central Florida, was attending a pre-calculus class on Monday when he had a seizure.

A fellow student and trained first responder, Manny Ballestas, immediately rushed to Namey’s side and started performing CPR until emergency crews arrived, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

“I did everything I was ever trained to do,” Ballestas said in his Facebook post.

Unfortunately, Namey didn’t survive. Doctors say his death was caused by cardiac arrest.

After Namey’s death, Ballestas took to Facebook to write an emotional open letter to Namey’s family.

"Yesterday at around 11:55am, a UCF student collapsed in his class due to what is now believed to have been a massive heart attack. As a first responder, I was his fighting chance. I did everything I was ever trained to do but I was unsuccessful. The image of his face as I gave him his last breaths and pumped his chest will never leave me. Michael (I believe his name was), wherever you are now, please know that I am so sorry to you man. I am sorry I failed you. I’m sorry you lost your life so soon. I did not know you and I will never get that chance but I have no doubt in my mind that you were a remarkable human being on your path to becoming an extraordinary adult.

"To his parents, if I never get the chance to find you, I hope this reaches you: your son fought for his life without feeling any pain. I did everything I knew how to possibly do but it wasn’t enough. I cannot fathom the pain you feel and my words will never ease them but please know that I am so sorry. I will work everyday, as a student of UCF, an individual of society, and hopefully one day as a politician, to assure that what happened to your son can be prevented in schools nationwide. Whether it be by spreading the importance of knowing CPR, adding more AED machines to schools, I will make his life meaningful somehow, someway. I promise.

"To everyone else, I’m not writing this to receive any sort of sympathy, that should be directed to Michaels family, but rather to share the importance of knowing what to do in similar situations and to remember this incredible person. Just like millions of other students, including myself, Michael woke up Monday morning for school; to learn, to progress his life, to eventually become an essential part of society. Giving him a 50% chance of living versus a 0% was crucial, regardless of the outcome. Therefore, I plea to everyone out there, please go and familiarize yourselves with the basics of CPR/AED. Every single second counts, trust me. It could mean the difference between life and death.. I only wish I would have gotten to him a couple of minutes sooner.

"I ask that everyone please share this post in the hopes of spreading the importance of being CPR trained but also for me to be able to reach Michaels family.

"Lastly, to you Michael, I hope you rest in internal peace. You will be missed by the entire UCF community."

Ballestas says he is hoping his letter will show the importance of CPR training.

“Giving him a 50% chance of living versus a 0% was crucial, regardless of the outcome,” Ballestas said.