(WTNH) – Meet Mike Papale. He has a big heart.

“The opportunity to have a positive impact on people,” Papale said. “I was diagnosed with a heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”

That means he has an enlarged heart. He learned of his condition when he was just 17 years old.

“I went into sudden cardiac arrest and because I did not receive immediate CPR and there was no AED in the building, doctors said my chances of survival were one in a million. I was lucky someone did give me CPR. It was a volunteer EMT who came from next door,” Papale said.

Grateful to be alive, life changed for him that day. His passion for playing basketball was ripped away from him, but something else was given to him that day.

“Being able to understand I had a greater purpose in life,” Papale said.

In 2015, Papale founded InAHeartBeat.

“InAHeartBeat is a non-profit organization with the mission to prevent death from sudden cardiac arrests. This is done by donating AEDs, providing CPR and AED training, raising money for research, providing support to patients, and providing free electrocardiograms to children, teens, and young adults,” Papale said.

Papale knows of instances where automated external defibrillators donated by his organization literally saved lives in a heartbeat.

“Being handed my passion when I was 17, I think there’s a lot of people who go their whole life trying to figure out what they’re really passionate about and what they want to do and as hard as this event was on my family and me, I was handed that passion when I was 17, and hopefully, be able to live the passion for a long time and have a positive impact on people.

For more information about his organization or if you would like to volunteer, click here.