October 3, 2013 9:44:08 AM
A teacher saved a student's life last Friday.
Jack Sellers, a third-grader at New Hope Elementary, was in his classroom working on a project with Life Savers when he attempted to swallow a piece of the candy. The candy lodged in his airway and the 8-year-old began to choke.
His mother, April Sellers, said her heart stopped when the school nurse told her, "I need you to come quickly. It's Jack."
"Your heart stops beating, your mind stops working and everything goes wrong," Sellers said. "Until I could put my hands on my breathing baby and know he's OK, my world stopped."
She said her son "couldn't breathe, couldn't talk, he was beginning to turn blue and was making the universal sign for 'Hey, I'm choking.'"
Sellers said Jack's teacher, Ashley Thompson, got behind him and performed the Heimlich maneuver, causing him to vomit up the candy.
Sellers called Thompson her son's "hero."
"She saved his life," she said. "Just a couple more seconds and he could have lost consciousness and it could have been very tragic from there. It was very scary, very scary."
Imagining life without her son, Sellers began to cry.
"Seconds make all the difference in the world," she said. "I could be sitting here without my child if she had made the wrong decision."
Sellers said she is "forever indebted" to Thompson.
"It only takes a few seconds to panic and make the wrong decision," Sellers said. "Had she picked up her phone and called for help instead of doing what she did, it could have been really, really bad. I'm enamored and in awe. You never really know how you're going to react in a situation like that and I'm just forever in debt to her. I want her praises sung."
While Jack sustained some bruising and a sore throat, April Sellers said her son was back to his normal self within minutes of the incident.
"I knew he was OK when he said, 'Mom, how long are you going to be doing that? You're embarrassing me.'"
Sellers said Thompson's quick thinking and divine intervention saved her son.
"Without Him having his hands on her at that moment, we could be having a completely different conversation."
Sellers encouraged others to learn the maneuver that saved her son.
"It's so important, whether it's a school employee or a house wife, for anyone in the work force to know CPR or the Heimlich," she said. "It can happen so quickly. Seconds make all the difference in the world."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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