JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A 13-year old girl is being hailed a hero in the Valley View Junior High School after using the Heimlich maneuver to save her cousin's life. Allison Estes, an 8th grader, used the technique on January 19th. The incident happened two weeks after she was taught the skill in her health class.
"It was my mom's birthday and we were all having a family dinner at my grandparent's house, and the adults were in the kitchen and the kids were in the living room," said Estes.
"I took a bite and it got stuck in my throat and it wouldn't go up or down," said Landon Saliba. "I ran in the bathroom and I started beating on stuff so people could hear me and I heard my sister and my cousin jump up and my cousin got behind me and she did the Heimlich maneuver and it came up a little bit and then I started vomiting and stuff."
Landon's mother, Amanda, said her son's face turned red and purple before Allison took action.
"The next thing I remember is hearing Miranda saying, oh my goodness someone needs to do something. And Landon was running toward the bathroom. His face was purple," said Amanda.
Amanda said she was grateful for the Valley View School District. She said she was impressed a 13-year old could act like a hero.
"I froze up. I couldn't help him and all I could think of was maybe calling 911 or something but immediately my niece Allison. She just jumped into a mode I've never seen she in before in my life and she put her arms around Landon and she did the Heimlich maneuver on him and he immediately coughed this chunk of meat out," said Amanda. "I've had CPR classes and I've done all of that in my past, but I froze. When it comes to your loved ones and if you don't keep yourself fresh on certain things, you forget."
"It surprised me but afterward I felt very grateful and I felt thankful for saving his life," said Estes.
"I thank her more and I admire her more and stuff," said Landon.
Valley View teaches 160 eighth graders medical emergency techniques thanks to newly implemented health programs.
"I tell my students that these are skills that you'll have to learn or that you'll need to learn but hopefully you'll never have to use them but I had no idea that just a week later she'd be putting this into practice," said Mellanee Harmon, Allison's teacher.
Harmon said she teaches a nine-week rotational class of students CPR and other skills. At the end of the program, the students are certified for two-years.
"What I love about teaching first aid and CPR, especially this being a new program this year, is that textbooks serves their purpose in the learning process but this program allows the kids really hands on," said Harmon.
"I know that if she hadn't have performed that, I don't know if Landon would have died or if he would have lost oxygen to his brain and caused problems but regardless of what would have been, what happened was he was saved," said Amanda.