“Anyone would have done it; we just happened to be there.”
Those might not be the words you’d expect from a person who saved a teenager’s life, but that’s exactly how Katie Knutson described the actions she and fellow Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School teacher Heather Fussnecker took earlier this month.
These two educators were the first to respond when Crispus Attucks student Kenedi Cheatham was found unconscious in a stairwell. They immediately started CPR, but Kenedi was unresponsive. The school is equipped with heart defibrillators, so one was rushed to the scene. Knutson and Fussnecker followed the AED’s step-by-step instructions to revive their student.
“I’ve never been so happy to see someone breathe in my life,” Fussnecker said about the moment they knew Kenedi was still alive.
Doctors say the quick thinking and actions of these two teachers not only saved Kendi’s life, but preserved her brain function as well. She experienced a form of cardiac arrest, and could have seen brain damage if action had not been taken sooner.
Knutson and Fussnecker credit Kenedi’s classmates with keeping the area calm as they worked to save her life. A group of students who saw Kenedi collapse patrolled the hall to keep others away, and ensured students stayed in their classrooms until paramedics arrived to take her to the hospital.
“I want an invitation to your wedding,” Knutson said to Kenedi when she first visited her in the hospital, “and I want to be there when you become super successful.”
“It’s created an unbreakable bond between all of us,” Fussneker said.
We couldn’t be more proud of these amazing educators who jumped into action to save a student’s life. They’ve both been nominated for Red Cross Hero Awards, and they certainly deserve it! Click here to see a feature about our Crispus Attucks heroes on FOX59 News!