Landon Arcadi poses with his friend, Zach Cumm, who pulled him to the surface of the Northwest Family YMCA pool after he went into cardiac arrest June 2. (Photo by Ashley M. Casey)
By Ashley M. Casey
“How exactly do you thank people that saved your child’s life not once, but twice?”
That’s the question Tony Arcadi asked the crowd assembled in Baldwinsville Village Hall on Sept. 29. “‘Thank you’ doesn’t seem enough.”
With a harrowing summer behind them, the family of 12-year-old Landon Arcadi finally had a chance to greet — and thank — the first responders, neighbors and friends who pitched in to support the Arcadis after Landon went into cardiac arrest twice in June.
“We’re happy that you all could celebrate with us at this happy time,” Landon’s mother Ann Arcadi said, “because we all know things could have gone differently.”
Landon went into cardiac arrest while swimming with his friend, Zach Cumm, at the Northwest Family YMCA pool in Lysander on June 2. Zach pulled his friend to the surface and several adults came to Landon’s aid, including off-duty State Trooper Shaun Smith, respiratory therapist Tracy Barton and registered nurse Yvette Bishoff. YMCA staff called first responders and brought an automated external defibrillator (AED) to revive Landon.
About two weeks later, Landon went into cardiac arrest again after fishing with his family at Oneida Shores in Brewerton. The Brewerton Fire Department responded, and now the Arcadis have a new “Brewerton family.”
Since receiving an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) June 30 and working with the Baldwinsville Central School District to find a CPR-certified aide to accompany him to classes, a healthier Landon returned to seventh grade at Ray Middle School on Sept. 28.
“Within a month, I was already trying to climb trees, running, kicking the soccer ball around,” Landon said. “Two weeks ago I was doing pushups.”
While some of Landon’s rescuers have received their due — Trooper Smith and Zach Cumm were honored with the New York State Senate Liberty Award in August — Ann Arcadi said the family hadn’t even had a chance to thank all the players involved.
“The gun got jumped before we could [thank] Shaun and Zach,” she said.
In some cases, Landon hadn’t even met, or couldn’t remember meeting, the first responders, hospital visitors and health care providers who helped save his life. The Arcadis’ neighbor, Cindy Clarke, stepped in and helped the family plan a reception at the village hall to thank their heroes.
Many involved in Landon’s rescues agree that they were in the right place at the right time.
“I was at swimming lessons with my little one when they pulled him out of the water,” Bishoff said. “I wasn’t even supposed to be there that night. Things happen for a reason.”
“It’s awesome — you’ve got almost every facet of life here between family, law enforcement, teachers, mayors,” Smith said. “It’s all about [Landon] and his ability to keep fighting. He’s a strong man.”
Zach Cumm,12, said he was “very scared” when Landon went down in the pool, but Landon praised his friend for acting quickly.
“It reminded me of something my brother told me,” Landon said. “Once you become a man, you have a decision to make: You can either take a thought, or you can make an action. Zach made an action.”
“It’s definitely an honor,” Zach said of being recognized for saving his friend. “It’s really cool; it’s kind of weird.”
Tony Arcadi commended his community for coming together for his family, bringing them meals, caring for their pets and home, donating to the family’s GoFundMe and more. He thanked the U.S. Marine Corps for granting his older son, Domonick, extended leave to visit Landon in the hospital. Once he was well enough, Landon visited his brother at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. (“I was able to go inside a tank and ride on it,” Landon said, “which is pretty cool.”)
Baldwinsville Mayor Dick Clarke also praised the friends, family and first responders gathered to celebrate Landon.
“The family is indebted to a lot of you,” he said. “Believe me — you are all heroes in their eyes, and that’s what counts.”
Clarke added that everyone who has helped the Arcadis reflect the helping spirit of Central New York.
“I know you’re not all from Baldwinsville, but … I’m continually proud of the people that represent this area,” he said. “Look around you — you’ll see a lot of nice people who have done a lot of nice things.”
While the crowd had gathered to celebrate one boy, Landon shied away from taking the credit.
“It does surprise me how many people came here and they didn’t have to,” Landon said. “It wasn’t really about me — it was about recognizing other people.”
Now that Landon has recovered, the Arcadis’ mission is to spread awareness about AEDs and “increase the number of AEDs in the community,” Tony said. They would like to see public places and local law enforcement agencies have more devices available in case of cardiac emergencies.
“You have a fire extinguisher in every [public place] to save people’s lives,” Tony said. “We hope that Landon will take this up as his passion.”
As for Landon, he’s glad to be back in school, studying his favorite subjects: math and science.
“It definitely feels good to get back into the routine,” he said.
His experience has reminded him that people should take care of each other.
“Even if you might be scared in a situation like that, you should do something,” Landon said.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.
Feb 20, 2017
Feb 20, 2017
Feb 20, 2017