Tresa Razaaq of Chicago is receiving a Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action from the American Red Cross of Illinois after jumping into action to help her four-year-old son who had begun choking at school. As scary as it was for her in that moment, it was something she says she felt confident to do as she had just come from a CPR training course that same day.
The course was held on June 14th, 2022, and right afterwards Tresa headed to Mollison Elementary to pick up her kids from school. Tresa said she took the course wanting to get reacclimated on safety training after having another baby. As the president of the Parents Advisory Committee at the school, she also felt she had a responsibility to know CPR. She even talked with the principal that day about looking into hosting a training course at the school, in hopes that more parents and staff could get certified.
As her kids were walking out of the school, she noticed a parent waving her down near her son who was already outside. Once she ran over, she noticed her son’s eyes bulging, face turning red, and his hands up to his mouth. It was clear that he was choking on the cupcake she saw him leaving the school with.
“I looked at my son and told him, ‘Listen, don’t be scared, Mommy’s got you’,” Tresa said. “I turned him around and patted his back, the same number of times I had just learned in the class. A little bit came out and he started gasping for air. So, I used my fingers to dislodge more of the cupcake and open his airway. I turned him back around and started patting his back again then the rest came out and he was okay.”
Tresa said she’s grateful for taking the training, and it goes to show how importance for everyone to have these skills, especially those who are around children often.
“I was thinking about how glad I was that I had just taken the class, but at the same time, it was my son and I had never seen him like that,” said Tresa. “I couldn’t show how scared I was for his sake and for my other kids who were there watching.”
She continued: “My mom worked in the medical field for more than 40 years and she was the one who encouraged me to take the class since I am around kids so much including my own. Now I am trying to get everyone in my household to be involved.”
Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency and save a life. A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.
If you or someone you know has used skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain the life of another individual, visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate, recognize, or be inspired.