An 11-year-old girl who helped save her grandmother’s life by performing CPR was among several people who were honored by the Los Angeles Fire Department on Thursday.
Kendall Stilwell teared up when recalling the moment she found her grandmother Rita Lovato not breathing and then called 911.
“I felt really scared because I thought I was going to really lose my nana,” Kendall said. “I called 911, and I began to do CPR. It was a really scary moment.”
“I was really happy that she made it,” Kendall said, putting her hand to her welling eyes.
Kendall spoke at an event at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank intended to encourage the public to learn CPR.
Lovato, 71, went into cardiac arrest at about 6:40 a.m. on June 25, and Kendall found her unconscious, fire Deputy Chief Daryl C. Arbuthnott said.
Kendall spoke to a firefighter/paramedic who “talked her down” and explained how to perform CPR, Arbuthnott said.
Audio of the call showed the firefighter calmly talking to a hysterical Kendall.
"What I need you to do, sweetie, is take a nice deep breath. We're going to get you some help but I need you to answer some questions for me," the paramedic said. "I need you to be big and strong for me."
He told Kendall she was "doing a great job" as he talked her step by step through giving hands-only CPR, counting out the beats for her.
"1-2-3-4," Kendall could be heard counting in a wavering voice.
Woodland Hills firefighters responded to the home and took Lovato to West Hills Hospital.
“Kendall was understandably emotionally unstable at the time but demonstrated bravery," Arbuthnott said.
Lovato was with her granddaughter were at the event, which honored emergency medical teams were honored for saving lives. They were reunited with patients they helped.
The 911 dispatcher who helped Kendall was also honored.
Bystander CPR can double the survival rate of those suffering cardiac arrest, Arbuthnott said.
The firefighters who responded to the cardiac arrest of a woman working out at a gym in Universal City were also honored. The woman hugged her rescuers and teared up when speaking at the podium.
“It’s been almost two years but it’s like it was yesterday,” she said. “I’ve been told it was a miracle I survived without any brain damage.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Kendall's last name. The story has been updated.