A 12-year-old Greek girl is being lauded as a hero for performing first aid to an elderly swimmer who lost consciousness while in the sea last Wednesday.
Lemonia Spanou, from Thessaloniki, was the first person to respond to the scene on a beach in Chalkidiki and likely played a part in saving the unknown elderly man’s life.
Young Greek girl called a hero for helping save man’s life
Spanou was very quick to respond when she saw that the elderly man was not responsive. She went up to him and, while wearing a mask and gloves, put him in the recovery position in order to make sure his airways were unobstructed and give him the best chance of survival.
Then, the girl’s father took over in helping save the elderly man’s life. Her father, Kleanthis Spanos, who is a volunteer with the Hellenic Rescue Team at Kassandra, was able to use his expert knowledge to help the man. He then used an Automated External Defibrillator on the swimmer as he always carries it with him for such emergencies.
The man was then transferred to Chalkidiki Hospital by ambulance, where he is expected enjoy a full recovery.
On Thursday, Spanou and her father were invited to speak to interviewers from MEGA, a Greek television channel.
Spanou recounted the fateful day at the beach when she helped save the man’s life.
“I was informed that there is a swimmer in the sea who was unconscious. I ran straight there because I knew I could help. I was not afraid. I have been trained, I knew what I had to do. I have never been in a real-life situation like this before,” Spanou recounted.
“Kids Save Lives” program taught her CPR
Spanou knew how to respond in such extremely high-pressure situations because of a government-backed program named “Kids Save Lives.” The program travels to schools across the country annually, and teaches students first aid, including CPR and the use of new life-saving technology.
Spanou mentioned the organization during her interview, saying “Volunteers from “Kids Save Lives” have come to my school multiple times to teach us how to save lives even though we are children. (Our age) doesn’t matter.”
The Greek girl who is now considered a hero remained humble when interviewers asked her how she was able to help save a man’s life at such a young age.
“I tried to find a sense of calm within myself. I didn’t even have to think about it — I knew what I had to do, and I just went and did it,” she stated matter-of-factly.
Spanou ended up revealing to MEGA that a jellyfish stung her on the hand while she was in the water attempting to rescue the elderly man, but she continued by saying that she was all right and that there was no need to worry about it.
Spanou’s father Kleanthis also spoke to MEGA about his experience and “Kids Save Lives.”
“I am very proud of her — Lemonia is one of 70,000 children who have been trained by Kids Save Lives, which is a program that trains children in first aid. First aid should become a mandatory class in all schools.
“Kids Save Lives has suggested this to the Ministry of Education, and we are waiting for this motion to be approved, and for first aid to make it into schools as a class. It is important that children know first aid. Even a child can save lives,” Kleanthis stated.
A Facebook post by the Kids Save Lives program congratulating Spanou is shown below.
Facebook commenters also weighed in on the situation, with hundreds of people congratulating the young Greek girl on her quick thinking, bravery and use of first aid.
“Bravo to my girl! Your parents should be very proud! Schools should definitely provide this sort of training from a young age…” said one commenter.
“Bravo to my Lemonita! I am so proud of you! Bravo to you too, Kleanthi!” gushed another.