Sisterly love can come in big packages — especially three days before Christmas.
Tristin Broad, 12, of Red Deer, already shares a close bond with 11-year-old sister Shay, but an emergency brought them even closer this week.
On Wednesday, Tristin and 19-year-old stepbrother Chris Pike sprung into action when Shay collapsed inside a warehouse shop in Burnt Lake Business Park. Shay remembers not feeling well shortly before collapsing.
Tristin said her stepbrother came to Shay’s aid, picking her up and then trying to keep her awake, but she kept drifting in and out of consciousness.
Immediately, Tristin used her cellphone to call 911. With frantic desperation, she tried relaying to the dispatcher where exactly they were.
The only thing was, she didn’t know the exact location because her mother’s boyfriend had recently moved his business to Burnt Lake, located west of Red Deer and north of Hwy 11. The boyfriend wasn’t around at the time, only the three siblings.
“I was really scared, I was pretty much freaking out . . . but I knew what I had to do,” said Tristin.
While continuing to talk to the dispatcher, Tristin could hear sirens in the distance. She could see that Shay was falling in and out of consciousness and that Christopher was trying to keep her awake by shaking her and rubbing her chest.
With no time to waste, Tristin ran outside in temperatures of -13C and a windchill of -19. She had no coat on but that didn’t seem to matter. Tristin knew she had to act quickly to help her little sister.
“I went running out on to the road to see if I could find them because I knew they were close but they were lost,” said Tristin.
At one point, a man in the area approached Tristin to see if he could help. He began talking to the dispatcher on the phone.
Tristin flagged the ambulance down a couple blocks away from the shop and shortly after, fire-medics with Red Deer Emergency Services were on scene. She approached her sister and found that her “eyes were at the back of her head.”
Glen Thomlison, public information officer with Red Deer Emergency Services, said the ambulance was dispatched at 11:30 a.m. and three minutes and 20 seconds later, they were on scene.
Fire-medics placed her sister onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, where she was given initial medical treatment, including an IV and oxygen. Shay was transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, where she spent hours undergoing tests. She was placed on a heart monitor and given more tests Thursday.
Shay had never collapsed before, only suffering dizzy spells in the past. Although she doesn’t remember exactly what happened in those few minutes, Shay is grateful for what her sister and stepbrother did.
“It makes me feel kind of happy,” said Shay, shyly, on Thursday.
Tristin and Shay had planned to stay at home on Wednesday, so Tristin figures she would have been in “a lot more panic” if Chris wasn’t around. Tristin believes she and Chris saved Shay’s life.
Shay had likely been unconscious for about four minutes, her mother Shantelle Broad was later told. Mom is extremely proud of what her oldest daughter did during the crisis.
“She was quite nervous and a mess, but she pulled through and knew to immediately call 911,” said Shantelle.