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Teachers, brother help save 11-year-old's life

A Cherokee County sixth-grader is alive today thanks to his teachers and a nearby AED.

Doctors say Caden Cherry didn’t have a heartbeat for eight to 10 minutes. His teachers and family will tell you he is a walking miracle.

The last time the 11-year-old was inside the Creekland Middle School gym, he was on the floor in cardiac arrest.

“I don’t remember anything. I know we right here -- standing right here,” Cherry said.

Cherry was with his physical education class when he suddenly collapsed and his heart stopped.

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“I heard a noise on the floor. I turned and saw Caden there on the floor. Right then, I noticed something was seriously wrong,” said Coach Keith Fountain.

Caden’s twin brother, Cooper, was right there when it happened, and he stayed calm and gave them lifesaving information.

“Right after I scored, Caden’s friend, Will, came over to me and said, ‘Cooper! Cooper! Caden is on the ground. He’s having a seizure.’ I ran over and told the gym teachers that it’s his heart problem and knew that they had to get AED,” Cooper Cherry said.

Fountain set things in motion. He got another teacher to call 911, the nurse to rush to Caden’s side and to grab what eventually saved his life -- an AED.

“Everything went to plan, step-by-step, like the crisis training we’ve had here. It was perfect. It saved his life,” Fountain said.

Creekland Middle School Principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman echoed those words, saying their emergency training during their pre-planning was key.

“Only God knows how grateful I am. Really!” Wiseman said.

Wiseman says the school nurse she just hired performed a miracle that they are all proudly wearing on their #CadenStrong shirts. They read: Keep Calm and Believe in Miracles.

“He had no pulse. His breathing was agonal, not a regular breath. I did chest compressions and breathing for him in between shocks until EMS arrived,” said school nurse Chrissa Hofstetter.

Fountain was on the verge of tears talking about the experience.

“It’s an awesome miracle that we have the technology that we have to save a life like that. I’ll never forget it. It will be with me for the rest of my life,” Fountain said.

Caden has two strong words for his teachers.

“Thank you!”

When Channel 2’s Craig Lucie asked Cooper Cherry what his brother meant to him, he responded: “Everything. I’ll have his back like he has mine. We will be right there for each other.”

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