Ms. Leona Di Amore Honored as American Red Cross 2018 Emergency Medical Assistance Hero

Ms. Leona Di Amore Honored as American Red Cross 2018 Emergency Medical Assistance Hero

Serendipity guides Leona Di Amore’s life. She believes it was not a coincidence that she walked into a deadly scene where a violent individual was on a stabbing rampage and was able to help.

Last May, Di Amore visited her freshman daughter at the University of Texas at Austin for Mother’s Day weekend. Getting ready to say goodbye, she walked her daughter back to her dorm. As they entered the dining hall of the dorm, they suddenly saw students frantically running into the building. The students were yelling that people outside were being stabbed.

Di Amore ran out of the building without hesitation to see if she could help. As a trained Navy medic, chiropractor and tae-kwon-do black belt, she knew she might be able to do something. Di Amore found a male student alone and asked him what was going on. He said, “I’ve been stabbed.” The boy, a 19 year old UT student, was among the four random students attacked by an out-of-control individual. One of the victims did not survive the attack.

Immediately, Di Amore recognized the severity of the student’s wound. “He had an 11-inch gash on the back of his neck that was so deep his spine was exposed,” she said. “As a medical person I knew how serious this injury was. He was bleeding out and it was my job to try to minimize the blood loss, calm him and keep him safe.”

While the perpetrator was still at large, Di Amore got the student’s shirt off and used it to pack and hold the wound closed to try to curtail the significant loss of blood. “He was losing feeling and I let him know that his body was in shock and that I would stay there with him,” she said. “My job at that moment was to not let him know how serious his injuries were and to keep him safe, alert and oriented.”

It took about 20 minutes for an ambulance to reach them amid the chaos. Through the ordeal, the student remained conscious until the paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital.

Thanks to Di Amore’s quick actions, the student survived the harrowing injury and returned to the University of Texas to finish his degree. He is graduating this year.

Thanks to Di Amore’s quick actions, the student survived the harrowing injury and returned to the University of Texas to finish his degree. He is graduating this year.

This past fall, Di Amore and the student reunited on campus. She described their meeting after the incident as, “extremely emotional … when we saw each other again, we hugged and hugged.”

“I was humbled to be able to be of service to someone in need,” Di Amore said about the experience. “I know that miracles do happen and kindness to others is what matters most.”

The Emergency Medical Assistance Award is presented to an individual(s) who provided life-saving medical assistance to a person or people in need during a time of crisis.

Follow #RedCrossHeroes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates about the 2018 Heroes. For more information about the 2018 Heroes Breakfast, click here.

 

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