Pekin officers and bystanders recognized after saving 17-year-old’s life

Local News

PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) – Recognizing the importance of a bystander and knowing how to perform CPR was the key to saving a life in Pekin.

“When people know how to do CPR and start CPR in a very timely manner, as fast as possible, even bystander CPR, really increases the chance of survival,” said Pekin AMT paramedic, Mark Gilles.

CPR saved 17-year-old, Grace Cooney after her heart stopped beating and she collapsed at the Pekin Marigold Festival.

“I sat down and I don’t really remember anything before that,” said Cooney.

Her sister performed CPR while bystanders and Pekin Police Officers rushed to seek more help. Shortly after, Advanced Medical Transport arrived and took over the life-saving measures.

“Defibrillation, which is the shocking, was able to restart her heart within minutes of her heart-stopping,” said Gilles.

Grace’s father said it’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

“I don’t know what time it was, [but] she called screaming and told me that Grace’s heart stopped, and I need to get to Pekin hospital right away,” he said.

He said upon arrival, minutes felt like hours, but when they saw Grace nod at them, relief and joy filled their hearts.

“I don’t know what time it was that evening that she started coming out of it, and she looked at us and nodded her head, and we kind of lost it again because that meant she was probably going to come out of it,” her father said.

Now, Grace has a defibrillator implanted and said she’s glad she got the opportunity to thank her heroes.

“I was happy to be able to see them and thank them and not have been the other way around where I wouldn’t have been able to be here,” said Cooney.

The American Red Cross offers classes for CPR and first aid certifications.

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