9-year-old honored after performing Heimlich Maneuver to save classmate’s life

Francis Akhalbey June 20, 2023
Jace Wiggins, 9, performed the Heimlich maneuver to save his classmate's life -- Photo Credit: WMAR 2 News

Jace Wiggins, a 9-year-old fourth grader, received a special recognition from his school after he performed the Heimlich Maneuver to save his classmate’s life. According to WMAR 2 News, the June 12 incident occurred during a class party at Leith Walk Elementary School.

Wiggins said his classmate was drinking water when he noticed she had become distressed. The quick-thinking student subsequently sprung into action after he managed to determine what was wrong. 

“I was kind of scared, but I just got behind her and did the Heimlich Maneuver,” Wiggins, who was 7 years old when he learned the maneuver, said.

The 9-year-old also recalled that his classmate was chewing on a cap and drinking water when it probably went down. “We were just having fun in the music room listening to music. She went to go have a drink of water and the next minute, she was chewing on a cap and drinking water and it must have went down,” he recalled.

The fourth grader said the cap eventually came out after performing the maneuver three times. “When she was gasping for air and she was trying to get out what she was saying, she was trying to say help but we couldn’t understand it but I kind of heard it.”

Besides teaching her son how to perform the life-saving maneuver, Wiggins’ mother, Charlie Gilliam, also taught him how to do CPR. “Cardiac arrest is something that it doesn’t have a face, it doesn’t have an age limit so I think that it’s very important and imperative to have everyone around you just know,” Gilliam, who is a certified instructor, said.

She also spoke about how her son made her proud. “He called and then the school called and said your son saved someone’s life and when he called I think that his adrenaline was rushing and I’m like what do you mean you did all of this and he said I just did it,” she told WMAR 2 News.

During this summer, Wiggins will be assisting his mother to organize classes that will teach children how to perform CPR and AED. 

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: June 20, 2023


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