Cries spurred septic rescue

Chelsea Cunningham was eating some lunch on Saturday in Maricopa, Arizona when a mother’s screams distracted her and caused her to investigate their source.

Chelsea Cunningham was eating some lunch on Saturday in Maricopa, Arizona when a mother’s screams distracted her and caused her to investigate their source.

The 28-year-old from Sundre thought maybe a fight was going on or someone had cut themselves and could use a hand.

But those screams were the result of that mother’s two-year-old daughter having fallen through a broken covering into a septic tank, where she spent four minutes nearly drowning before a hot dog vendor who had been working nearby pulled her out.

Cunningham then grabbed the tot, discoloured from her lack of oxygen, and performed some 10 minutes of CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and first aid on the child. The girl was given life, thanks to the efforts of the visiting Canadian, the hot dog vendor, and another man who helped out — an ex-con only two weeks out of jail.

A life was saved, and Cunningham was glad. But she was not able to finish her lunch.

“The worst part, after they got her in the ambulance, is I totally tasted it. I’m like ‘Oh, she was in a sewage tank. Didn’t really notice that part before,’” laughed Cunningham over the phone from Arizona.

The Central Alberta rancher, singer, and mother of three was called something else on Tuesday — a hero, by the Pinal County sheriff, who presented her and the other two rescuers with Life Saving Awards. While saying she wasn’t sure she deserved the honour, Cunningham did say it was a cool experience to be a part of.

In homeschooling her sons, Cunningham does skits and roleplays to teach them many things, including first aid. While she learned CPR herself years ago, Saturday was the first time she had to use it.

“You know what the numbers are and you just do them. You look for vitals, you look for breathing and you set her up properly and just get to work,” she said.

Cunningham said though it took a while before the child was able to take any breaths, she always believed the child had a chance.

“You just keep going. You keep going and it’ll work. We started to get a breath after about three minutes or maybe even less. She took a couple of breaths and then she expelled quite a bit of fluid, so obviously I stopped CPR and got her on her side.

“At that point she was able to take a few breaths and then her heartbeat came. We lost the heartbeat again and then got it back. There was some in-and-out there a bit,” she said.

Cunningham, her husband and sons are roping and spending time in southern Arizona for the first time, their decision to sell their cattle herd in the summer allowing them to spend time away from home this winter. After Arizona, Cunningham is heading to Argentina on an agricultural tour, before returning home to Central Alberta in March.

She laughed and said after her exploits this week, she will probably be invited back to spend next winter in Arizona too.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Canada caught between 2 powers, feeling alone in the world

TORONTO — First U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then… Continue reading

Carbon pricing is most efficient way to cut emissions, Canadian Chamber says

OTTAWA — Canada’s largest business group has endorsed a carbon tax as… Continue reading

Tory senators stalling laws for political advantage, Independents say

OTTAWA — Conservative senators are being accused of deliberately stalling Liberal government… Continue reading

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

TORONTO — Police forces in cities across Canada investigated multiple bomb threats… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Victims of former ski coach Charest say they were ‘sacrificed’ by Alpine Canada

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Alpine Canada by three victims… Continue reading

Emily Blunt on the ‘daunting’ task of playing Mary Poppins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says Canada’s weed legalization has kept ‘underground market alive’

TORONTO — Tommy Chong has a pass, man. While some Canadians who… Continue reading

Most Read