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Runner who ‘died’ at Montreal marathon finish line returns to run with doctor who saved him

Click to play video: 'Marathoner heart attack' Marathoner heart attack
WATCH ABOVE: Stéphane Demers came to Montreal from New Brunswick to run the half marathon last year, but went into cardiac arrest at the finish line. As Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, doctors revived him and he's heading back to run the race again – Sep 23, 2016

Stéphane Demers has lived through an extraordinary, life-changing experience.

The 46-year-old had travelled from New Brunswick to Montreal last year to take part in the Montreal Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis half-marathon.

READ MORE: Montreal family runs half marathon for daughter with rare brain condition

As he approached the finish line, Demers went into cardiac arrest and collapsed.

“I had some blockage in my artery, some of them were really blocked,” he told Global News.

“I had a cardiac arrest. I was not expecting that at all because I didn’t had any symptoms before.”

He was just few metres away from where medics were standing and the emergency team raced over to help Demers, performed CPR on him and took him away on a stretcher.

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Despite their efforts, Demers had no vital signs at 12:05 p.m.

But emergency physician Dr. François de Champlain, who was onsite with a team of doctors to respond to any emergencies, resuscitated him with a defibrillator seven minutes later.

“I’m sure that finish line, it will be something, that will touch me,” said Demers.

“The last time, when I crossed that finish line, my heart was not beating. They were doing CPR on me and that’s what people had seen on TV.”

After his pulse came back and his condition stabilized, Demers was transferred to a hospital.

READ MORE: Montreal’s Banque Scotia half marathon raises $1.1M for local charities

Now, the 46-year-old is back to run the marathon — this time, along side de Champlain, who saved his life.

“To be running that five kilometres is really symbolic. I think it’s something really important for me to do that at the same place,” said Demers.

“It was really emotional for me, that day. I had to pause it a couple of times to be able to look at the whole thing.”

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The pair have since become friends and partners in delivering a message of awareness.

Stéphane Demers running in a race. Stéphane Demers

Through his foundation, Fondation Jacques-de Champlain, the doctor has created an app that registers and locates the nearest defibrillator and walks you through how to use it.

Demers said the cause is close to his heart, because having a defibrillator nearby saved his life.

He insisted he wants others to be aware of the life-saving method that gave him a second chance — because it can save so many more lives.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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