First responders, a 911 operator and a mom honored for helping save 1-year-old’s life

Allison Sherry/CPR News
Sharon Thompson and her son, Alex, attend an awards ceremony for Aurora first responders on Tuesday.

Sharon Thompson discovered her 1-year-old son Alex wasn’t breathing at home in August and, panicked, dialed 9-1-1.

Aurora emergency operator Julie McKay quickly, but calmly, walked her through what to do. Thompson gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tiny chest compressions. McKay also dispatched paramedics to the house.

Within a few minutes, a handful of paramedics from Aurora Fire and Rescue and Falck Mountain Rescue arrived. So did an Aurora police officer. The police officer and one paramedic performed CPR on the baby and they were able to restart his heart. 

Then a crew of responders provided support en route to the hospital, where the baby made a full recovery.

“There are no words to describe how grateful I feel,” Thompson said. “Without the great work and experience and skill each of you have, my son wouldn’t be here today. I’m celebrating you. You’re heroes. You think you’re normal people but no, you guys are heroes. I’m celebrating Alexander’s life.”

Seven responders and McKay received Phoenix Awards, a national honor, on Tuesday for saving Thompson’s life. His mother, Sharon, also received an award for being calm under extreme duress and performing life-saving measures on her son. The Phoenix Award is given to first responders when they successfully bring back to life individuals who were in cardiac arrest and who make a complete and neurologically intact recovery from an event. 

It was the second award given to McKay this year. In March, she was recognized for helping an adult female, who suffered from cardiac arrest, make a full recovery.