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Cadet who helped mum suffering stroke awarded for life-saving actions

PUBLISHED: 16:56 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 25 September 2018

Holly and mum Nicki after Nicki completed the Brighton marathon this year after her stroke. Photo: the Rusmby family

Holly and mum Nicki after Nicki completed the Brighton marathon this year after her stroke. Photo: the Rusmby family

Archant

A teenage first aid volunteer who saved her mum’s life after correctly spotting her stroke symptoms has been recognised with a Young Hero award.

Holly Rumsby, at the St John Ambulance awards in London, where she was highly commended for the Young Hero award. Photo: Mike Marsland, St John AmbulanceHolly Rumsby, at the St John Ambulance awards in London, where she was highly commended for the Young Hero award. Photo: Mike Marsland, St John Ambulance

17-year-old Holly Rumsby, from Bodham, has volunteered with the St John Ambulance cadets since the age of 14.

But last year, she got the chance to put her hard-earned skills into practice when her mum, Nicki, 40, suffered puzzling headache-like symptoms that left her wanting to pop a paracetamol and have a nap.

Holly said: “I got home from school on April 26, and she was complaining of a headache. But it felt different to normal, and she wasn’t sure if it was a migraine.”

Holly, who is also the North Anglian cadet of the year, stopped her mum from taking any painkillers. She monitored her as her condition worsened and dialled 111 for assistance.

Holly Rumsby, 17, with mum Nicki, 40, dad John, 46, and brother Luke, 15. Photo: the Rumsby familyHolly Rumsby, 17, with mum Nicki, 40, dad John, 46, and brother Luke, 15. Photo: the Rumsby family

She added: “She stopped being able to talk. She was pointing and no words were coming out. I knew something was really wrong.

“My dad thought she was okay so I snuck up to my room and called the ambulance.”

Mrs Rumsby said: “My very first symptom was my vision in eye going strange. I sat on the sofa and my whole body was shaking.”

But the mother-of-two said she couldn’t take in the fact something was really wrong, and apologised to the paramedics who treated her for “wasting their time”.

Holly, right, has been volunteering at St John Ambulance since she was 14. Photo: Holly RumsbyHolly, right, has been volunteering at St John Ambulance since she was 14. Photo: Holly Rumsby

Mrs Rumsby was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) but she was discharged the same evening after a stroke nurse thought she was having a migraine.

She was advised to visit her GP and when she got home, her concerned daughter urged her not to put off making an appointment.

An MRI scan subsequently showed Mrs Rumsby had brain damage from suffering a stroke.

She said: “I’m not allowed on any contraceptive pill now and I also take blood thinning tablets.

Holly and her mum Nicki. Photo: the Rumsby familyHolly and her mum Nicki. Photo: the Rumsby family

“What could have happened if I hadn’t gone back to the doctor?

“It’s one of those things you’ll never know.”

And Holly, a pupil at Reepham College, has now been highly commended for her actions, in the Guy Evans Young Hero category at the St John Ambulance awards.

Holly, who is hoping to study medicine at the University of Nottingham, attended the awards in London on September 24, with her mum, dad, and brother.

Mrs Rumsby added: “I am so proud of her and I will be forever grateful to St John Ambulance.”

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