A widow has shared the heartbreaking photograph of the last time her children saw their father in a medically-induced coma before his death as a confronting warning against high-caffeine energy drinks.
Cassondra Reynolds, 49, lost her husband, John, and the father to her three children in February 2011 after he drank an energy drink, which resulted in him having a cardiac arrest, she says.
John worked as a mechanic and worked night shifts, so he often relied on an energy drink on his way to his job to keep him alert as he worked through the night.
“He was the love of my life and my soul mate,” Ms Reynolds said.
Ms Reynolds, from California, said she woke up one morning to hear her husband gasping for breath and had to perform CPR whilst the emergency services were on their way.
"I just couldn't believe that it was happening. I was in a state of panic and shock because I had no idea what was happening to my husband,” Ms Reynolds said.
John was immediately transported to hospital where he was put on life support and put into a medically induced coma. Ms Reynolds later found out he had suffered a cardiac arrest.
"When he went to the hospital, the doctor told me that his sugar levels were sky high and were asking me all sorts of questions about his lifestyle, whether he took drugs and if he had any health issues,” the wife and mother said.
When the doctor quizzed Ms Reynolds about how many energy drinks her husband had daily, she replied he only drank one each day.
"He (the doctor) immediately explained that it only takes one energy drink to throw off the rhythm of your heart causing a heart arrhythmia,” she said.
‘I felt like my heart was physically breaking’
Sadly, 14 days after having a cardiac arrest, John was pronounced brain dead and Ms Reynolds was left with the heart-wrenching decision to turn his life support off.
"When he was pronounced brain dead, I let my children come and visit him to say their goodbyes. I asked the nurse to remove as many wires as possible so that they wouldn't be scared,” Ms Reynolds explained.
The couple, who had been together for 10 years, had three boys together who were five, six and eight at the time of their father's death.
"He was a really good dad and the best husband, watching him take his last breath was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I felt like my heart was physically breaking,” Ms Reynolds added.
Nine years after the death of her husband, Ms Reynolds has launched the Awareness Project which aims to raise awareness about the dangers of energy drinks and pre-workout supplements.
"I want people to know how dangerous these drinks are and I need people to speak out about losing their loves ones because it happens all the time, you just don't hear about it,” she said.
Ms Reynolds said there was no age limit on the sale of energy drinks in the US and there had not been enough tests on the long-term effects of the drinks.
She is sharing her heartbreaking story in a bid to get the US government to ban energy drinks.
“The doctor told me that drinking energy drinks is like playing Russian roulette with your life and that really stuck with me,” she said.
The group that Ms Reynolds started, ‘Energy Drink and Pre-Workout Awareness’, currently has more than 11,000 members on Facebook.
“I don’t want anyone to go through what me and my children have had to go through these past nine years, it doesn't get any easier you just learnt how to cope with it,” Ms Reynolds said.
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