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MIRAMAR, Fla. – A routine stress test on a treadmill typically doesn’t lead to a heart attack but that’s what happened to Stephen McGill. McGill, 46, president/CEO of $2 billion Eastern Financial Florida CU, was recently profiled in the Dec. 12 issue of the South Florida-based newspaper the Sun-Sentinel on his brush with death. Two weeks after completing a two-day, 150-mile bike ride into Key West and back, he went in for a stress test. McGill had agreed to the stress test the day after Memorial Day because he had been experiencing severe heartburn from gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to the article. The stress test was ordered as a precaution because his symptoms could have masked more serious medical problems. Four minutes on the treadmill, McGill, collapsed and suffered a heart attack, the article reported. He was revived with a defibrillator and rushed to a nearby hospital where physicians found 75% to 90% blockage in his arteries. He underwent a quadruple bypass a week after that. “I believe it was divine intervention that it happened in a doctor’s office,” McGill told the publication. “If it would have happened two weeks earlier when I was on the bike, I would not be here now.” McGill said he thought he was in great physical shape, riding his bike 11 miles or more a day and lifting weights. He had been a smoker for 24 years. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, McGill thought he was in the best shape of his life. The heart attack became a life-altering experience, he said. McGill lost 35 pounds through a new diet of chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables, the article said. “This is the first time in my life that I felt my own mortality, and I realized that I should celebrate life every day, because you don’t know how long you will be here,” McGill said in the article. He has since joined the American Heart Association’s Mended Hearts and is in training to lend support to heart patients, their families and others affected by heart disease, according to the article. McGill has sought out more ways to help those around him. He and his wife Damaris, work with abused children at His House Children’s Home, a shelter and nonprofit agency in South Florida.

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