SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — Three Sonoma teens were honored at the Capitol by state Senator Bill Dodd on Monday for heroic actions that saved the life of their friend, and the family who donated the life-saving device was there to celebrate.
On June 15 Toby Ford-Monroe, Mason Matulaitis, and Nate Jordan were playing basketball with their friend Mikey Serbicki at the Sonoma Valley High School. Serbicki collapsed on the court, and the three teens immediately began providing CPR before deploying an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart his heart. Paramedics arrived and were able to transport Serbicki to a local hospital; he has now made a full recovery.
“If it wasn’t for them, the situation might not have turned out the way it did. Their actions saved a life and inspired an entire community. I am proud to recognize these heroes at the Capitol today.” said Sen. Dodd.
Mikey Serbicki has another Mike to thank for the device that saved his life, Mike Brindley. Brindley was an avid sports fan and a huge fan of basketball. He dreamt of being a sports broadcaster one day, and he even authored a detailed sports blog called Just1Mike. Mike died in June 2016 at age 16 when he collapsed playing basketball with friends and his heart stopped. There was no AED nearby.
When Kristy and Bob Brindley lost their son, they knew they couldn’t let another parent go through that same pain. They started a foundation called Just1Mike.org, and began funding heart screenings at local schools. When the pandemic hit, screenings had to take a pause for safety, but that didn’t stop the Brindleys.
The Brindleys pivoted the Just1Mike model and began donating AEDs. After the Brindleys made Sonoma their home two years ago, they donated an AED to the Sonoma Valley High’s athletic complex. It was that very AED that saved Mikey Serbicki’s life.
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“It’s been overwhelming honestly, and we’re so thankful that the boys knew what to do,” Brindley told KRON4. The bigger issue that the Brindleys want to highlight is the risk that children face with congenital heart conditions, “From what we understand, one in every 300 kids has a chance of having a congenital heart condition that goes undetected,” Brindley says.
Simple EKG screenings for all children could save lives. A bill authored this year by California State Senator Brian Jones, SB 1135, would provide funding to support heart screenings for children in grades 5-12.
On Monday the Brindleys met 16-year-old Mikey Serbicki and his family for the first time at the state Capitol. Kristy Brindley says the meeting was meaningful, “with our boys having the same names and having the same age…it was emotional. But my husband and I had always said that our goal is to keep another community from suffering this tragedy.” The community of Sonoma has one more child tonight thanks to the efforts of the Brindleys and the swift actions of Serbicki’s friends.