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Be Red Cross Ready: Ashley's Story

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Underwriting support from:

/American Red Cross

It was the night before Thanksgiving and one of our Red Cross staff members, Ashley, was having dinner with some friends at Olga’s. She had been sitting with her friends for a few minutes when she heard a woman yell out, “Help me — help him!”

Ashley looked up but could not see who was requesting assistance or who required it. Finally, she saw a gentleman holding someone up and again heard another urgent cry for help.

She ran over to the scene, discovering an older gentleman foaming at the mouth, unable to speak, his hands stiff and deformed. He was breathing on his own, although it was labored, and Ashley knew that being Red Cross trained, she had to help. With the assistance of the man holding up the victim, she placed him on the floor in a recovery position and assessed the situation. She asked a staff member at the restaurant to call 9-1-1 while she continued assisting the people until the ambulance arrived.

She talked with the woman who had initially cried out for help, who turned out to be the sister-in-law of the victim. She indicated that he was on blood thinners and had suffered a heart attack last spring. As she took in this information, she kept monitoring the victim and making sure his airway was open during what appeared to be a seizure. In her further questioning of the man’s sister-in-law, she discovered that this man’s wife had died only a week before and that he was under a considerable amount of stress.

When the paramedics arrived, Ashley stayed by the victim, holding his hand and offering him comfort and encouragement. Recalling the event, Ashley’s eyes filled with the determination that helped her make a difference that night to this man and his family.

Have you been Red Cross trained in important skills like CPR, First Aid, and how to use an AED? Give yourself one of the best gifts you can this holiday season and get yourself and your family trained. For more information, visit us online at

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