August 20, 2019

Kim Cunningham had just gotten out of bed Aug. 1, was getting coffee and ready to go to the office. She works in patient accounts at CAMC.

The next several minutes are unclear for Kim. Something happened. She yelled for help and her husband Roger and daughter Makenzie came running.

Kim's husband asked her questions, but she couldn't respond. Something wasn't right. Makenzie recognized what was happening. Her mom was having a stroke.

Makenzie had just participated in CAMC's Junior Nursing Academy in July.

The nursing academy exposes middle and high school students to a wide variety of nursing specialties. In the Simulation Center, the teens learned basic nursing and life support skills such as first aid, CPR and stroke.

Using her new knowledge, Makenzie took control that morning. She calmly started going through each assessment step she learned, including asking her mom to raise her arm and squeeze her hand while telling her father to call 911.

Kim said that what her 17-year-old daughter learned could have potentially saved her life.

"I don't know what would have happened without my daughter and husband that morning," Kim said. "Having a stroke was definitely an eye opener for me. I look at life differently now. I speak slower and softer."

Kim's advice is to learn the signs and symptoms of emergency conditions like stroke and heart attacks in order to help others. Whether it be a TIA to a major stroke, every step is beneficial.

"After going through the nursing academy, Makenzie is so much more aware of her surroundings," Kim said.

Makenzie Cunningham is a senior at Herbert Hoover High School. After graduation, she plans to further her education and is considering several options in the medical field.

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