SYCAMORE – A Sycamore boy who saved his friend’s life earlier this year was recognized Thursday by Kishwaukee Community Hospital staff for his quick thinking under pressure.
While hanging out Feb. 3 at Jason Edwards’ Sycamore home, brothers Austin and Dylan Benson, also of Sycamore, had a contest with Jason, 12, to see which of them could keep a piece of “Atomic Fireball” candy in his mouth longest.
Austin began coughing and told the others to call 911; Jason said they realized he was choking.
Jason spoke with a police dispatcher and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which he said he learned in a Safe Sitter class at KCH.
Austin began breathing at that point, though the candy wasn’t dislodged.
Sycamore Police and EMTs then arrived at the house; a police officer also performed the Heimlich and was unable to bring the Fireball back up.
Austin was taken to KCH and later transferred to Central DuPage Hospital, where he was to have a scope procedure performed to remove the candy. By then it had dissolved.
With KCH staff and Sycamore firefighters standing by, Mike Kokott, the hospital’s assistant vice president for marketing and planning, told Sycamore Middle School sixth-graders during an assembly Thursday they wanted to recognize someone who deserves the designation of “hero.”
“We have someone in this room who has earned that title without the use of superpowers,” he said.
Jason’s quick thinking and cool head in a crisis should be an inspiration to others, Kokott said. Most people would wait for emergency personnel to arrive, “but a lot of the time, the seconds count,” he said.
The best thing parents, teachers and family can do is try to prepare children for adult life through classes like Safe Sitter, Kokott said.
The class helped save 150 lives across the country, he added.
Kokott called Austin and Jason to the podium and presented Jason with the hospital’s first KCH Heroes Award and a medal.
The sixth-grader received applause and cheers from his peers.
“This was large enough that we actually established the award when we learned about Jason’s efforts,” Kokott said.
Sycamore Assistant Fire Chief Marc Doty said a patient’s outcome can be determined by how he or she is treated in the time before EMS personnel arrive, so it’s beneficial when people like Jason act quickly.
Jason – who also received awards from state Rep. Robert Pritchard and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk – didn’t know he would be presented with the hospital’s award during the assembly.
“I guess it means a lot to me,” he said.