Ali Khaleghi is an enthusiastic 13-year-old boy living in Toronto, Ontario. In fact, some say he is lucky to be living. Others readily acknowledge the hand of a loving God in preserving Ali’s life.
It was on a Friday, last November 14, when Ali arose from his bed, happy for a day off school. After he had exercised, he turned his thoughts to the importance of that evening’s hockey game. To Ali and his family, hockey has place of great importance. He dressed in a white shirt, tie and jacket for his arrival at Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre in North York.
It was only six minutes into the match when an opposing player took a shot in Ali’s direction. Suddenly, the puck flew off the ice, striking Ali in the chest. For a few seconds, he seemed unfazed; then, he dropped to the ice, limp and still. The referee looked down at Ali, lying face up. His eyes were open in a still, glassy stare. The official urgently signaled to Ali’s coach with great alarm. The area operator waved for his parents to come onto the ice.
The arena operator yelled, “He’s not breathing! He’s not breathing!” and called for a defibrillator. A registered nurse appeared from the crowd and, with the help of the arena operator and an off duty fire fighter, started CPR, while the father of another player used scissors to cut off clothing. Medics arrived and applied defibrillator pads.
Ali’s heart again began beating and his lungs drew in air, but he remained deeply unconscious. The time from his passing out on the ice until his heart was restarted had been five to seven minutes, creating the risk of brain damage.
As firemen, police and medical aids swirled about him, the boy was transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital. A police officer at the hockey rink ordered the route to the hospital cleared so that the ambulance could rapidly transport Ali. At the hospital, doctors quickly decided to create an induced coma to protect his brain.
The following day, while Mohammad hovered over his son, word reached the father’s workplace, and the ears of co-worker Roger Stiver, a member of the Church. “He knew my about my faith,” says Brother Stiver, “and I decided to get down there and do whatever I could to help.”
With fellow Church member, Alex Orlov, Brother Stiver drove to the hospital. “We didn’t know much about the situation. When we arrived at the boy’s room, there was a breathing apparatus attached to him, and other family members were there. They told us that Ali had only a 50-50 chance of survival and would likely have either severe brain damage, or may be blind, and suffer migraines and seizures. That was the ‘good side”, they said. The other possibility was that he would die once brought out of the induced coma and the breathing apparatus disconnected because of his heart being stopped so long.
Brother Stiver recalls, “We said, ‘We’re here to give your son a blessing, if this is okay.’ I explained what a blessing is, and Mohammad agreed. I remember putting my hands on Ali’s head. His body was very cold to slow its activity. When I went to anoint him, I wondered if he was even inside his body or if it was a ‘goodbye’ blessing. At the time of the blessing, I didn’t know what had happened to his heart. This blessing was a real test of my faith.”
Following the Lord’s pattern of anointing, the blessing followed. “I put my hands on his head, having to work my fingers through the medical cables. I cleared my mind and didn’t know what to say, but the Spirit told me that Ali would get up after 24 hours and that he would be fine and nothing would be wrong with him.”
Brother Stiver hesitated. “I didn’t want to say those words because I had trouble believing the impressions based on what was in front of me. Then I realized that here I am, and who am I to not believe that God could do it? I said, ‘You will be awake within 24 hours with no residual effects.’ I extended the blessing to include the doctors and the hospital staff to do the right thing for him to get completely better.”
After the blessing was quietly completed, Brother Stiver and Brother Orlov walked out of the room and down the hall. “Alex asked me, ‘What do we do now?’ I told him, ‘We did what we could do and we will let God do what He will do.’”
As the pair of priesthood bearers silently made their way home, another team of doctors entered Ali’s room. Medical staff briefly reviewed the patient’s condition, the group concluded to speed up the process. “Let’s not keep him down for 48 hours,” one said. “We’ll bring him out in 24 hours.”
The following day, the hospital staff stopped the medication that had kept Ali in a coma. Within minutes, he started communicating. “Why am I in a hospital? What’s going on?” were his first words.
“We know definitely that a lot of good peoples’ prayers helped bring him back,” says Mohammad. “I don’t think that, without the prayers, anything would have brought him back.”
“We have friends who are Jews and friends that are Christian and Indian. I received text messages from people saying we had a special prayer in a mosque or synagogue.
“I am grateful. It took more than technology and ambulances to bring him back. The EKG recorded no activity. He was dead. A friend said, ‘It’s unbelievable what happened. It’s unbelievable how he came back.' It is, by definition, a miracle. He came, he went and he came back.”