VCU Health Daycare worker receives national award for saving toddler

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A daycare worker at VCU Health Child Care Center received a national award for saving the life of a toddler with CPR.

It was a walk down the hallway Earlena Foskey will never forget. She could see the smiling face of a baby she save and a grateful mother standing on the other side, in tears.

“I wanted to do a little something special for you, because of what you did for us,” Stephanie Louka said, holding back tears. 

Dr. Louka nominated Foskey for the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver Hero Award. 13-month-old Evie stopped breathing one day at daycare in February. 

“Earlena rolled her over and she was blue in the face, white as a ghost in her body,” Louka said.

A horrifying moment for the mom. Foskey performed CPR for about a minute, and little Evie regained consciousness.

“She is entirely unscathed by the entire event, I can’t say so much for her dad and I,” Louka said laughing that she may have gotten a few more grey hairs.

Louka and her husband, Amir, are both doctors at VCU. They see these situations play out differently all of the time. 

“For the week after after, I had a lot of thoughts in my head like what if this scenario had gone differently because I have to council families when that happens,” she said. 

This isn’t the first time the family has been worried about Evie’s health. She was born 2 months early and spent a lot of time in the NICCU. For Evie’s first birthday, they held a party at the hospital to thank all of the people who helped Evie during her first few months. 

“She’s just as big as the other kids her age, even not accounting for the fact that she came early,” the mom said proudly. 

Louka wanted to do something else to thank Foskey, something special, from her heart. Louka pulled out a heart pin. She was given it after saving a man’s life with CPR when she was a volunteer on a rescue squad in Virginia Beach. On the squad, you’d get a pin for every life you save. 

“About a year later, I decided I wanted to go to medical school,” she added. 

Louka gave her’s to Foskey. They know how precious life is. Louka has also trained over 40 people on how to use CPR and stresses it’s importance. 

“If you get the training, you may or may not ever have to use it in your life but if you do, it can be so impactful,” she said.

46 percent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital receive CPR, according to the American Heart Association.

If you’re interested in learning CPR, click here

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