The City of Frisco is crediting Frisco ISD and its CPR curriculum for helping a 12-year-old middle school student save her father’s life.
Paramedics say without the quick action of sixth grader Aerin Thomas, her dad might not be alive today.
“You are a hero for saving your dad,” representatives from the Frisco Fire and Police departments told Aerin as they honored her before her classmates at Cobb Middle School.
Aerin learned hands-only CPR in P.E. class. It has been part of the curriculum for all sixth grade students in Frisco ISD since 2012.
“The training was very, very helpful,” Aerin said. “Before I would not have known what to do at all. I was thinking back to what we did in class and I was like OK, I know what to do. It’s going to work. It will be fine.”
Aerin shared critical information with a 911 operator and stepped in to help her mom after her father Joe suffered a heart attack at home.
“I vaguely remember her saying something like, ‘You’re not doing it right’ and taking over,” said Aerin’s mom Angela Thomas. “She had no hesitation at all, she just did what she needed to do and was very calm about it and not in hysterics. I think I was the panicky one.”
Aerin says she didn’t anticipate putting the skills to use, especially so soon.
“It was just a class,” she said. “I thought I might need it in the future, but not as soon as a few months.”
The situation is exactly why Frisco ISD offers this life-saving training to students.
Middle schools use manikins and resources from the American Heart Association (AHA) to teach the core skills of CPR, as well as choking relief techniques and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) awareness.
These topics are also reinforced in high school health, a required course for graduation in FISD that students may take anytime between eighth and twelfth grades.
“We are so proud of Aerin and her coaches at Cobb Middle School,” said Frisco ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeremy Lyon. “We know CPR and AEDs can save lives and improve a person’s chances of survival and this is yet another example of FISD students and staff using their training and skills to make a difference. We are thankful for this outcome and the contributions of all those involved."
Doctors say Joe Thomas is lucky to be alive, though he has a long road to recovery.
“Our story could have turned out so differently and it didn’t,” Angela Thomas said. “It’s just so important to have these skills and use them if they are needed.”
Angela says she has learned an important lesson: never underestimate your kids.
“You just never know and you’re never too young,” she said. “You’re never too young to step in and save someone’s life.”