Clinically dead X-Men actor revived at end of marathon
PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:58 13 November 2015
A super-fit Norfolk actor who collapsed and “died” on the finish line of the Toronto marathon is recovering well and looking forward to coming home.
Gregg Lowe, who is known for his role as Ink in X-Men, has no memory of the incident which saw a volunteer medical student rush to his aid and re-start his heart after it went into cardiac arrest.
He said: “I just remember getting to the last 200m and thinking that I felt fine and could definitely run it quicker next time. The next thing I knew I woke up in intensive care.
“It was a massive shock. No-one expected it. It is still a bit of blur and I have not really got my head round it. The first thing I asked when I came round was ‘Who saved me?’”
Having finished the race within his target time of four hours there was nothing to suggest anything was wrong and the 29-year-old appears comfortable in news footage that has emerged since the incident.
But soon after he ran through the tape he suffered a heart attack and dropped to the floor in front of trainee paramedics who were manning the finish line.
With no vital signs he was clinically dead but one student continued with CPR - a way of keeping the heart going from the outside - until emergency crews arrived with a defibrillator and took him to the hospital which was nearby.
“I am so lucky that she did that and so grateful also. Once you have a cardiac arrest if someone does not start work on you within three minutes you will suffer brain damage and in seven minutes you are dead. I would have preferred it not to have happened at all but I am so lucky that it happened there.
“I felt it was really important to meet these people who saved my life. The work they do is so incredible and it can be a thankless job. I am one of the good stories where something has happened and it has been a good outcome but it is not always the case. I will be eternally grateful.”
A series of tests proved negative except for one which gave only a marginal result for Long QT, a condition which affects the electrical rhythm of the heart.
He has since had a defibrillator fitted in case it happens again. The diagnosis means the whole family has to be tested to find out if they are at risk too.
His mother, Janice Lowe, who lives in South Beach Parade, Great Yarmouth, said she was full of gratitude for everyone who worked so hard to save him and keen to promote the life-saving benefits of CPR.
She said: “If telling his story just helps that one person to be aware that they could have an underlying problem that would be great. And if anyone else does think to take up a first aid course and someone benefits from that it is going to be worth it.”
Although tired, he is back at work playing Cedric in a Tudoresque drama Reign, and is looking forward to coming home to Yarmouth in the next few weeks.
Mrs Lowe, who flew out to Canada as soon as she heard, said he had been flooded with messages from well-wishers including one from his former drama teacher Sheila Pascall of Stage Door.
Gregg, who divides his time between Canada and the UK grew up in Bradwell and joined Dusmagrik as a young boy, his passion for acting and drama never dimming.
The former Cliff Park High School pupil got his first big break in the West End playing Michael in Peter Pan when he was eight.
His uncle David Frosdick of B&D Cycles in Gorleston said Gregg’s efforts to track down and thank the strangers who had saved him had brought him to the attention of news media in Canada, although normally he was very discreet and reserved.
He added that the family although shocked by the suddenness of the collapse were grateful that it happened where it did, and not on one of Gregg’s early morning runs along a deserted Yarmouth seafront when the outcome could have been very different.