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9-year-old saves friend's life by performing the Heimlich Maneuver

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Posted at 11:02 PM, Jun 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-16 23:31:47-04

BALTIMORE — The school year is wrapped up, but one fourth grader spent his last day of school saving another classmate’s life.

Jace Wiggins was quick to jump into action, so quick he saved his friend's life and he's only 9-years-old.

"I was kind of scared, but I just got behind her and did the Heimlich Maneuver,” said Wiggins.

Monday was the last day at Leith Walk Elementary School, which meant a class party. But what Wiggins didn't know was that the Heimlich Maneuver he learned at the age of seven, was about to be put to the test.

“We were just having fun in the music room listening to music. She went to go have a drink of water and next minute she was chewing on a cap and drinking water and it must have went down,” said Wiggins.

He says it took three tries to get the cap out.

"When she was gasping for air and she was trying to get out what she was saying, she was trying to say help but we couldn't understand it but I kind of heard it.”

The Heimlich Maneuver isn't the only thing Wiggins learned at a young age. His mom, Charlie Gilliam, is a certified instructor who also taught him CPR.

"Cardiac arrest is something that it doesn't have a face, it doesn't have an age limit so I think that it's very important and imperative to have everyone around you just know,” said Gilliam.

Wiggins said the hardest part about learning CPR for him was the chest compressions.

The school gave special recognition for his swift actions. And to no one’s surprise, his mom is quite proud.

Gilliam said, “He called and then the school called and said your son saved someone's life and when he called I think that his adrenaline was rushing and I’m like what do you mean you did all of this and he said I just did it.”

Wiggins will continue the journey as he helps his mom this summer with classes that train youth on CPR and AED. It just goes to show, you're never too young to know how to save a life.