Let’s take a journey back to 2002. It was my first year after graduating high school and I decided to take my sister, who was 12 at the time, for a weekend of sister fun. Our plan was to spend all day Thursday at Wyandotte Lake and then head north to Cedar Point for 2 days of amusement park fun. The afternoon at Wyandotte was a gorgeous summer day and perfect swimming weather. We had about 2 more hours before our designated time to head out so we decided to head to the Wave Pool. The place was packed to the gills. After the first break time (which is when they blow a whistle and make everyone get out to rest for about 15 minutes) my sister decided to go back out and I thought I would lay out a little longer and join her shortly.
It felt like I had only closed my eyes for a few seconds when I looked up and realized I could no longer see her. I walked over to the area she had been and realized she was nowhere to be found. The only thing I could see were (what felt like hundreds of) rafts with people riding the waves. I knew she wouldn’t have gone out much further. But wait. For a split second, I spotted a glimpse of turquoise amongst all of the yellow rafts. It was my sister’s bathing suit! She had been pushed under water and covered with lots of rafts and it was obvious that she was drowning.
I had no hesitation at all. Immediately I knew there was no time to get the lifeguards’ attention as they were too busy talking. I barged into the water and starting pushing people off of their rafts and throwing the rafts behind me screaming, “My sister is drowning! Go get help!” I swam out and dove down. She was being pulled further and further into the deep end from the suction of the wave system. I finally reached her, pulled her up with one arm around her chest and under her arm while swimming with one hand (thank goodness for swimming lessons all of my life!) and realized by the time I was getting closer to shore they had shut off the wave system and I was able to get her to the shore. I propped her up on the concrete landing and went straight into CPR mode that I was taught in Health class just 2 years prior. It took two rotations of chest compressions and breathing and she started coughing up water and breathing! I held her head up and hugged her super tight with a lot of tears flowing down my face. Paramedics were there by the time I was done to check her out and thankfully she recovered quickly. Though we didn’t get to make it to Cedar Point that day as planned, we had encountered an experience neither of us would ever forget.
Anytime I tell this story, I emphasize that, had I not had to participate in that CPR course in Health class that year for school, I honestly don’t know how this story would have ended. The fact that I was being cautious and later very confident in what I had learned is what pushed me into that mode to save her. Even if I didn’t make it all the way back to that landing, I was willing to die myself to save her with a prayer that someone else would know CPR and was waiting for her.
My sister is a healthy 23 year old and often tells people she has a hero for a sister that inspired her to help volunteer during CPR certification courses during her high school years. Now that makes her my hero.
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Tara is our Niece, and we are very proud of her:-)
Uncle Jaymes & Auntie Debbie:-)