COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Do you believe in guardian angels? A young lady from Colonie does.
By all accounts Madison Dunlap should not be alive. Whether you call it faith or luck, her story is a miracle.
“I’ll forever be grateful. I’ll never be able to repay what they did for me.”
This is the story about a girl who died twice and the men who saved her.
On May 11, 2017, Madison was walking her dog when they were struck by a car. Her dog died, and Madison was dying. Police Investigator Jeff Guzy should have been miles away, but by sheer luck, he was on a call nearby.
“I jumped out of my car,” he said. “I immediately started CPR, conducted CPR, for a good three or four minutes before anyone else.”
The ambulance came but Madison couldn’t breathe. They were losing her. What she needed was a doctor.
Dr. Kevin Collins should have been at work in the emergency room at Albany Medical Center, but he switched his shift that day and happened to be driving by at that exact moment.
“And when we were working more to stabilize her, her heart stopped again,” he recalled. “Fortunately, we were able to get an airway in place, and she regained pulses in the ambulance.”
Lt. James Gerace arrived and realized he knew Madison. He has been friends with her father for 20 years.
“I didn’t even have the courage to call him.”
Madison was rushed to the hospital but her odds of survival were almost zero.
“Less than 1/10 of one percent who actually have cardiac arrest from trauma actually survive,” Dr. Collins said.
Then something amazing happened. During her CT scan, Madison suddently awoke.
“To see her sit up, fight these nurses and rip the tubes from her mouth and push these people away,” Lt. Gerace said. “I turned to Dr. Collins, and we kind of smiled at each other and said this girl has got some fight in her, and she is gonna make this.”
And fight she did. She spent five weeks in the hospital and three more in rehab. Every step was painful.
“Two months is a long time to watch your child suffer,” her mother said.
Madison’s jaw was broken and wired shut, but her message was still loud and clear.
“She wanted to be back out there; she wanted to be with her friends; she wanted to live.”
By fall, she was back at school.
“I didn’t want to be the girl who got hit by the car anymore,” Madison said. “I just wanted to be Madison again.”
Eventually, she was back on the basketball court. Yet through her journey, something changed.
“I figured basketball was the most important thing in the world. It’s opened my eyes to so many different things,” she said. “[But now it’s] getting through life and being happy.”
Two years later, her parents still struggle with what they almost lost. But faith got the Dunlaps through Madison’s miracle. That and a few timely angels.
“I have faith, and I know that I was put in that spot because that’s where I was supposed to be at that time,” Dr. Collins said. “Absolutely no doubt in my mind about it.”
“I mean, it’s wild to think that my story touched so many people and brought so many people back to their faith,” Madison said. “The only way I got through this was with God. Without Him, I would not be here at all.”
“He must have big plans for you,” NEWS10 ABC anchor John Gray said.
“I hope so,” Madison responded with a laugh.