New Brunswick

Man who almost died runs again in Montreal marathon

Last year when Stéphane Demers of Moncton crossed the finish line at the Montreal marathon, he was clinically dead. But after a year of recovery, he's running again.

Stéphane Demers was clinically dead after the last marathon but this time he crossed the finish line alive

This past weekend Stéphane Demers ran once again in the Montreal Marathon and crossed the finish line with the doctor who saved his life at his side. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC)

Last year when Stéphane Demers of Moncton crossed the finish line at the Montreal marathon, he was clinically dead.

But after a year of recovery, he's running again. 

He collapsed 50 metres from the finish line for the half marathon. Demers was revived by paramedics with CPR, cardiac massage and a defibrillator. He was clinically dead for seven minutes. 

"I was feeling great that day. I was having fun," said Demers.

"Then I woke up at the hospital."

When something like that happens I think you question yourself. What will you do with the rest of your life? The main thing for me I think is to be present and be in the moment.- Stéphane Demers

It took Demers a couple of weeks to understand what had happened to him. It made him reflect, and consider what he would do with the rest of his life.

But that didn't make him stop running. Over the past year he worked his way back to being able to run again. 

For Demers, running was a part of his life. It was a stress reliever for him, and he wanted that back. 

"It's been with me for the last ten year so. It was important for me to do something," said Demers.

Back to Montreal

This past weekend he ran once again in the Montreal Marathon. He ran the 5K, but he didn't cross the finish line on his own. He had the doctor who saved his life at his side. 

He had kept contact with the doctor. When Demers was in Montreal in May, the idea came up. 

"He said 'well, if you run, I'll run with you,'" said Demers.

"One of the most precious moments I had at that race was at the end when I crossed the finish line."

When he crossed the finish line, the medical team that previously helped save his life was there waiting to congratulate him.   

Life changing

The near-death experience has been life changing for Demers. He says it's still a work in progress, but he tried to dwell less on the past and the future and more on the present. 

"When something like that happens I think you question yourself. What will you do with the rest of your life?" said Demers. 

"The main thing for me I think is to be present and be in the moment."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a reporter with the CBC.

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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