It was the moment 10-year-old Samantha Collis waited days for: being reunited with her father for the first time since he suffered a massive stroke Sunday night.
“I missed you,” Samantha said to him as they hugged.
“I missed you too,” said Sheldon Collis, kissing her forehead.
If it wasn’t for Samantha’s bravery and quick thinking, this father-daughter reunion may never have happened.
The two were at their Indio home alone Sunday night, when Samantha noticed something was terribly wrong.
“He wasn’t responding to me, that’s what I noticed and I got really scared,” said Samantha.
Despite her fears, Samantha remained calm. First she called her mom, who rushed home from the grocery store and called 9-1-1. Then Samantha spoke with the emergency dispatcher herself.
“Not only was she fast, but she knew exactly what to do,” said Amy Collis, Samantha’s mom. “I got home and she was sitting there on the ground with him, praying.”
“I was hoping everything would go well and I was just praying to God,” Samantha said.
By the time Sheldon got to the ER, he was completely paralyzed on the right side of his body and unable to speak. Doctors say he suffered a severe stroke triggered by a blood clot in his brain, and had Samantha not called for help when she did, he may not have survived.
“To see a 10-year-old recognize stroke symptoms, and call 911, it’s amazing,” said Dr. Samir Macwan, Chief of Neurology at Eisenhower Medical Center.
Just three days later, Sheldon is on the road to what doctors believe will be a full recovery.
Meanwhile, his brave young girl remains too humble to take any credit for saving his life.
“I really wouldn’t say I’m a hero,” Samantha said. “I would say everyone is a hero because the doctors made him better and everybody made him better.”
There’s an easy way to remember and identify the symptoms of a stroke with the following acronym:
Remember to act FASST:
Face: Does one side of the face droop? Ask the person to smile.
Arms: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms.
Speech: Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
Sudden and Severe Headache: Do NOT ignore this symptom.
Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.