BOISE - Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death for Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Would you recognize if someone was having a stroke? Health care professionals say the sooner a stroke victim receives medical treatment, the better the outcome.
A Caldwell mother and daughter are living proof.
It's standing room only inside Vision Charter School's Room 122, and a special day for 8-year-old Kailey George. She's being honored for saving her mother's life.
"Canyon County Paramedics lifesaving award presented to Kailey George for your life saving actions," said Steve Blados with Canyon County Paramedics. "Nice job, Kailey!"
Kailey's mom, Christie, suffered a stroke in September. Kailey happened to be home sick that day.
"My mom was cleaning a little bit," Kailey said. "And then she went into the bathroom and then she came out and she was acting funny."
It happened in an instant.
"Her face was like in a weird mold," she said. "It's like one side was like smiling and the other part was down here."
Kailey had never been taught the signs of a stroke, but she knew something wasn't right.
"She kept saying, 'You're not talking right, you're not talking right mom,'" Christie said. "And so I go, 'Well maybe I'm thirsty, get me a water.' And I couldn't even open the water because I was paralyzed. And she's like, 'I"m calling 911.' And I'm like, 'Don't call 911. We don't need to bug them, I'm fine.'"
Thank goodness, Kailey ignored her mom and called for help.
"What number do you call if you have an emergency," Blados asked Kailey's classroom. "911," shouted the students.
The professionals who also had a hand in saving Christie's life were honored, including the 911 dispatcher, Caldwell firefighters, Canyon County Paramedics, and West Valley Regional Medical Center.
"It just fills my heart to see such an incredible outcome because of a little girl that knew to call 911," said Amber Craig, a clinical nurse supervisor at West Valley. "Without a doubt she saved her mom's life."
Dr. Karen Porth, a neurologist at Saint Alphonsus in Boise, also cared for Christie. Porth says Kailey is the true first responder.
"I was so struck by her poise and her courage and how she knew the right thing to do," Porth said.
It was Porth's idea to recognize Kailey at school so that her life-saving story could be used as a teaching moment.
Students learn from a video played in class to anticipate the symptoms of a stroke, F.A.S.T: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficutly, Time to call 911.
They learn every minute matters when someone is having a stroke.
"If she had not gotten there in time and her stroke had not been treated acutely she would have been left with a deficit affecting her speech, her movement, her ability to return to work, her ability to drive, her ability to take care of her kids," Porth said. "So it's a major, major life changing event, it can be."
Christie has no side effects from her stroke because Kailey acted F.A.S.T, something she thanks her daughter for every day.
"Do I tell you that all the time?" Christie asks Kailey.
"Oh, yeah. oh my gosh, she just can't stop talking about it," Kailey said.
"Because I'm not sure she realizes what if she wasn't there, what if I went to sleep, what if I took a nap because I thought, oh, I'm just tired and didn't wake up," Christie said.
"It's so amazing," she added. "It's an awesome award. I'm so blessed that she was there."
To learn more about the signs of stroke, check out these helpful links: