Lauren Canaday studied at Virginia Tech, where she earned a BA in economics and MS in statistics. She briefly worked as civilian Army statistician before stumbling on her entrepreneurial passion—she pivoted to doing hair and running hair salons for the next decade. Teaching business classes and consulting with salon owners inspired Lauren to do additional graduate work in Organization Development at American University in 2018. When a seizure disorder diagnosis at the age of 34 required her to rethink personal/professional balance, she returned to the federal space. She spent the past five years working and consulting with federal agencies and contractors as a transformational change and customer experience specialist.
Lauren caught COVID-19 in December 2023. COVID led to myocarditis and worsened her well-controlled epilepsy. Two months later, she became one of the lucky few to survive an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest—thanks to her husband calling 911 and starting CPR immediately. Her recovery proved difficult, and she left full-time employment to focus on doctor visits, daily basics, and one of her chief passions: writing.
Last summer, Lauren started a newsletter called Cognitively Intact on Substack in which she transparently shares her recovery journey. On December 1, she released a memoir called Independence Ave: How Individualism Killed Me and Community Brought Me Back about facing chronic illness, burnout, and the lifeshattering impacts of cardiac arrest. A Reddit AMA one random December Monday created a surprising worldwide platform, as reporters and organizations reached out wanting to know more about Lauren's near-death experience. She hopes that sharing her cardiac arrest story will inspire others to learn CPR and to better address needs of survivors living with chronic illness.
Cognitively Intact- Check out her Substack
As few as 6% of those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest at home survive. I'm one of them. Here, I share the brightest and darkest sides of survivorship and explore what kicks in when science leaves you hanging. Themes: epilepsy, chronic illness, PTSD.
Read her book here
Read the Article here
More on CPR training from the Red Cross.
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