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8-year-old’s actions save great-grandma


HASTINGS — Hastings resident Willa Rundle does not remember much about her stroke on Tuesday. But she knows her 8-year-old great-grandaughter, Charli Coats, saved her life.

“It’s all because of her,” Rundle said. “If I didn’t get here when I did, it would have been a lot worse. She was a brave little girl.”

Rundle picked up Charli, the daughter of Carrie Coats, and Charli’s 5-year-old cousin, Quinton Bowersox, after Vacation Bible School on Tuesday. On the way home, Rundle began feeling ill.

“I was feeling OK but then I had kind of a blackout while driving home,” Rundle said. “By the time I got home, I wasn’t in pain but I had an aggravating, haunting feeling. My hands weren’t doing what my mind was telling them to do. It was a scary situation.”

Although Charli said she was frightened and unsure what was going on, she remained calm. She and her cousin helped their great-grandmother from the car to the house.

“When we got inside, she tried to help us get pizza,” Charli said. “I told her to relax while I warmed the pizza in the microwave. When I checked on her, she was saying random words.”

Charli said she and her cousin were trying to guess what her great-grandmother was saying.

“So I grabbed her phone and called our aunt,” Charli said.

Charli called her aunt, Ashley Nokes, because she knew her house was the closest of any other family members. Charli’s aunt and uncle quickly arrived on the scene and drove to the Mary Lanning Healthcare Emergency Room.

“Once we got here, she didn’t recognize us and didn’t know my aunt’s name,” Charli said. The Mary Lanning Healthcare Stroke Team quickly assessed the situation and were able to administer tPA, a clot-busting drug that can only be given if the patient comes in a short time after having a stroke. By Wednesday, Rundle was talking normally and said she felt well.

Charli said she was sad her great-grandma had a stroke but was happy she could help.

MLH staff were complimentary about Charli’s actions.

“They kept saying if me and my cousin weren’t there, she wouldn’t be here right now,” Charli said.

Rundle said she cannot remember much about Tuesday.
“It is all fuzzy after I got into the house,” Rundle said. “Charli took pretty full command. She’s a pretty helpful little girl. She’s irreplaceable!”

Rundle said her doctors told her she may be released later this week.

“I was very, very lucky,” she said.