Minnesota mom meets EMTs that helped save her life

BUFFALO, Minn. — A Buffalo woman got a second chance at life after doctors said she had just a 1% chance of survival.

Just three months ago, WCCO shared the story of her miraculous recovery.

In March, Rachel Sands was helping her dad move some cows when a steer got spooked and stepped on her chest, which stopped her heart.

She was airlifted to HCMC in Minneapolis, suffering four strokes along the way.

On Saturday, she was back on a horse, doing what she loves. It’s something that not long ago seemed impossible, after an injury that doctors said in most cases would end up deadly.

Rachel Sands


On Saturday, Sands met Chris Herron, John Liepold and Joseph Odell, the EMTs who saved the life of the mother of two.

“It means the world to me. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” said Sands.

Aside from some lingering vision problems related to her strokes, Sands said she feels like she’s back to normal.

“I don’t remember anything from that day, but I do remember waking up in the hospital and my dad sitting alongside of me,” she said.

“The date of the call is engrained in my brain, probably for the rest of my life,” said Allina Health paramedic Chris Herron.

The EMTs still don’t know how Sands survived her injuries, only that the timing of their arrival must have been just right.

“To say that she’s a miracle is very much appropriate and is possibly even an understatement,” said Herron.

On Saturday, a fundraiser was held at Buffalo Rodeo Grounds to raise funds for Sands’ medical bills, known as “A Ride for Rachel.”

“It means the world, I mean Rachel wouldn’t be here without them,” said Sands’ father, Don Czanstkowski. “Rachel wouldn’t be here without them. They were there at the right time and did all the right things.”

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime, life-saving story.

“Makes us feel proud of what we’re doing and we’re just so happy to serve the community here,” said paramedic Joseph Odell.

“It’s one of those calls that we’ll always remember,” said paramedic John Liepold.

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