Tim Cook sends personal thank you notes to Apple Watch owners whose lives were saved by the wearables: "Sent from my iPad Pro"

Fitness app on Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Every year when the Apple Watch event comes around, Apple releases a video that talks up the life-saving capabilities of the now legally contested wearable line. It’s not all saccharine bluster either — there are actual lives that have been saved thanks to Apple’s tech, and users shout from the rooftops about how their watch noticed life-threatening health issues that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Tim Cook, of course, is very proud of what the Apple Watch has achieved, and the difference that its multitude of sensors make to users worldwide. So proud, in fact, that he’s been responding to emails from users whose lives have been saved by their Apple Watch — talk about a personal touch from one of the richest men in the world.

First put together by Apple Insiders’ Malcolm Owen, there are currently two known users that the Apple CEO has responded to — One Professor Oakley from Asheville, North Carolina, and a Michael Gallegos of Wichita, Kansas.

A personal response

Professor Christopher Oakley found himself in his bathroom, staring at a picture of Marilyn Monroe, asking himself why he was feeling so nauseous. “Next thing I know”, he told ABC 13, “I went over here and hit this on the way down”.

His heart beating like he’d “just run a Marathon”, Oakley woke up in the morning to the same racing heart. Upon feeling his chest and the frantic heartbeat beneath, Oakley’s husband rushed him to the hospital. By the time they reached the emergency room, however, his heart had calmed down to a more regular heartbeat.

It was only after being shown the record of the heart event with the heart rate monitor on his Apple Watch that the Doctors were able to tell him that he experienced a minor heart attack — and within days, he was in surgery for a double bypass. To Oakley, it was a “warning shot”, and it’s taught him to tell “everyone who will listen” to get themselves an Apple Watch.

Remembering the event from two years ago, Oakley decided to thank Tim Cook and Apple for making the Watch that saved his life — “I just really appreciate all the work you and your folks have put into this in order to create a product that not only tells you the time, but also saves your life”.

Within hours, Cook responded to Oakley: “We’re just happy you’re doing well”.

The latest response

More recently, a well-timed gift saved Nick Gallegos’ father’s life. Using family sharing, Nick was able to track his father’s heartbeat — which reached "below 40 beats per minute for over 10 minutes” while he was sleeping, Nick told ABC Kake.

Immediately noticing the issue after receiving the warning about the irregular heartbeat, Nick contacted his Dad Michael, and told him to go to the Hospital to get everything looked at. One trip to the ER later, and it was discovered that Michael was suffering from an undiagnosed heart problem — one that the Apple Watch picked up just in the nick of time.

The doctors told Michael that he was extremely lucky, and fitted him with a pacemaker. Since then, he’s been feeling like a “new man” — “I've got more moves than the Energizer Bunny I think”.

Since the watch saved his life, Nick and Michael sent an email to Tim Cook who replied within hours:

“Hi Nick,

I’m so glad your father sought medical attention and received the treatment he needed. Thanks so much for sharing his story with us.

Please give him my best.


Sent from my iPad Pro”

These are only the reported responses — there could well be more out there that remain secret, sat in email inboxes with the ‘important’ star checked. Or maybe they’ve been printed out and framed. Either way, it’s nice to see that Cook responds personally to those that email him.

Also, in the unlikely event that you’re reading this Mr Cook, we’re very sorry for all the thanks emails you’re now likely to receive.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.