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2 Years After Heart Failed, Bixby High Schooler Gets Diploma

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Jonathan Fussell's heart failed two years ago, but now he is set to get his diploma. Jonathan Fussell's heart failed two years ago, but now he is set to get his diploma.
He painted a mural for the school production of Alice In Wonderland. He painted a mural for the school production of Alice In Wonderland.
EMSA paramedic Jill Boeckman was there when Jonathan's heart failed. She said his story inspires her every day. EMSA paramedic Jill Boeckman was there when Jonathan's heart failed. She said his story inspires her every day.
BIXBY, Oklahoma -

Two years ago Jonathan Fussell, a Bixby High School Sophomore, dropped dead in biology class. He was resuscitated, and on Tuesday night, he'll walk across the stage at graduation and pick up his diploma.

"It's just another day. When I walk up there, I'm not gonna do anything big. I'm just gonna grab my diploma and get out," Fussell said.

Of course, to everyone who knows Jonathan's story, just walking across the stage to get his diploma is so very special.

His mom remembers getting the call.

"When it vibrated I just happened to look down, and what I saw was, ‘911 Jonathan down at school,'" Alexia Fussell said.

His heart had stopped. He had gotten a heart transplant as a baby and it was failing, which could have been tragic.

"Within thirty seconds a student had called 911, within thirty seconds a teacher had begun CPR," Alexia said.

The nurse showed up with the school's AED and shocked his heart twice.

Back on the transplant list, he received a new heart a month later.

EMSA paramedic Jill Boeckman was there that day at school too.

"Bystander CPR is so important, and so easy to learn," Boeckman said.

She credits the quick action of everyone with keeping Jonathan alive, and she credits his story in particular with motivating her every day.

"I don't know why it touches me," Boeckman said. "You are doing so much with your life, it's just awesome to see."

His artwork is all over the school, he painted a mural for the school production of Alice In Wonderland.

He doesn't want art as a career, he has dreams of becoming a missionary, and who has a better story to share.

"There was a week there, as I lay in bed, and I thought about my new life," Jonathan said.

He decided to get the most out of it he could. In fact, he's begun running. He's completed a 5k and is training for an endurance race called Conquer the Gauntlet.

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