Six-year-old hero saves mum

20:09, Feb 14 2014
skylah john
COOL OPERATOR: Skylah John, 6, who rang 111 when her mother, Sharleen, at left, collapsed. Brother Tremayne, 3, and dad James are also pictured.

She's only six, but Skylah John is already being hailed as a lifesaver.

When her mother collapsed with chest pains on her kitchen floor, Skylah didn't panic and remembered what her parents and her favourite TV shows had said.

She calmly rang 111, gave the paramedics her address and phone number, and also told them how to get hold of her father at work.

"All the money in the world right now couldn't give me something to repay her," mother Sharleen John said yesterday, back home in Tawa after spending several hours in Wellington Hospital for tests.

The chest pains began after she picked up son Tremayne, 3, from kindergarten about 2.30pm on Thursday.

"It felt hard to breathe," she said. "I started to feel a bit funny and my hands had tingling sensations."


She picked up Skylah from Redwood School before returning home. But then things got worse.

The last thing she remembered was putting Tremayne down for a sleep and taking the schoolbags inside.

"I remember walking over to the kitchen table and that's it. I had no warning, no inclination I was going to pass out."

But Skylah, who had been talking to her mum when she suddenly collapsed, recalled her having chest pains before, in July, and watching as her dad James called an ambulance.

She also liked watching Tiki Tour, a children's series that had shows about calling 111 and safety skills, she said.

When Skylah was presented with an achievement award at Redwood School yesterday, she was told she had done an amazing job. She was modest though, just saying: "My mum couldn't breathe well."

When paramedics told John what Skylah had done, she said she was amazed by her bravery.

"I had a mixture of emotions - so proud, but also so scared thinking about what she had witnessed. She actually slept with me in bed last night, holding my hand."

James John was also full of praise for his daughter for keeping her head.

"It was pretty scary. She was not in tears, but she was anxious.

"I am speechless really. It is just one of those things you hope your kid would do.

"It is a complete lesson to other kids. Having a 6-year-old knowing how to ring 111, giving the address, without being silly about it, is pretty special."

Sharleen John is now starting to teach Tremayne about emergency safety, just in case Skylah is not around should she collapse again.

"Kids are never too young to learn 111."

Doctors at Wellington Hospital found Sharleen John had a gallstone, which they said could have caused some of the trouble.

Proud grandmother Maree Burns described Skylah as "the most awesome little kid out".

"She was just amazing, she just did it. If I had a million dollars, I would give it to her."

The Dominion Post