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January 28, 2009 > Candy Farrell - joyous and grateful

Candy Farrell - joyous and grateful

By Dustin Findley
Photos By Courtesy of Candy Farrell

Candy Farrell, Fremont resident since 1959 and lifetime dancer, passed out while square dancing in Sunnyvale in June, 2008.

The people she was with - her heroes - saved her life that night. Candy actually stopped breathing and her heart stopped. They were having so much fun square dancing. Candy said she was dizzy, and that's the last thing she remembers. "I was gone,. If they waited for the ambulance, that would have been it for me. It would have been all over for me" Candy said. Her heroes stayed with her.

Four people in the group of dancers were nurses. They took her vitals and performed life-saving measures to get her breathing and resume her heartbeat using a defibrillator; Candy "came back." Sue Wilson monitored vital signs while Nanci Scharfen assisted with monitoring. Priscilla Nelson administered CPR and Karen Markus took a constant foot pulse.

Caren and Tim Stephens happened to know where the defibrillator was in the building that night, and they knew how to use it. "They all knew what they were doing, and they did it" Candy said. At the time, Candy was not aware of any of it.

Roger Havasy helped Candy after the episode. He stayed with her while she was being admitted to the hospital and afterward. "He just stayed for hours" Candy said.

The City of Sunnyvale gave Candy's heroes commendations for helping Candy. "These are my angels" Candy said. Candy also wants to thank Pat Hynes, Joe Carboni, Robert Wilsar and Norma Marcus.

This was the second miracle for Candy. The first miracle of Candy's life occurred when she was 9 years old. Waking up in the middle of the night, she couldn't get out of bed. Her mother called the doctor, who said Candy had "infantile paralysis" (how they described polio at the time) and she would be lucky to use crutches for mobility. It was more likely that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Candy was paralyzed for three months.

Candy's mother walked to church with a friend who told the congregation about Candy. They closed the meeting and went to Candy's house. "Nobody said a word" Candy explained, "They just knelt down and started praying."

At one point Candy thought she felt her father's hands, "because I felt a very warm hand on my stomach." When Candy opened her eyes, her father was kneeling down and praying with the rest. "So it wasn't him, I don't know," Candy said.

The ambulance came to take Candy to the hospital, where she would be for a long time. Candy's neighbor talked to the doctor who worked with the ambulance while everyone was praying. After they were finished praying the neighbor talked to Candy, "and I got up and walked that night." Doctors just gave up on polio in those days, nearly 70 years ago. "I was miraculously cured because of those people's faith" Candy said.

Candy, a tap dancer, has spent her life dancing. She was the director of the Twilighters, tap dancing for 19 years, performing in Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, and surrounding areas. They entered big competitions and won first place every time.

"I want to thank the Lord publicly for what He has done for me in my life" Candy said. "And I want to thank my angels. I want people to know that God is still alive and still working miracles."

After surgery in June 2008 Candy gradually began dancing again although not square dancing yet because it very strenuous. Candy feels great and said it is "so good to be alive."

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