Fourth grader saves friend from choking: ‘If she didn’t save me, I wouldn’t be here’

BRIMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Nine-year-old Lauren Pringle and nine-year-old Baileigh Prochaska have been friends since they were two years old.

The girls are neighbors and fourth graders at Brimfield Elementary School in Portage County.

They were eating lunch together earlier this month when something went wrong. The trouble started when Lauren began laughing while she was eating.

She told Fox 8, "I was eating popcorn and I choked, and I gave Baileigh the sign, like, 'help me.'"

Instead of panicking, Baileigh remained calm, told a classmate to summon a teacher and realizing that time was of the essence, began to try and dislodge the popcorn.

"She was poking and she was like [motioning with her arms], just like to give me the signal, so I patted her on the back, made her push her hands up," said Baileigh.

Fortunately, those movements dislodged the popcorn. "It made me feel really glad because if I wouldn't have done that, she wouldn't be here right now," said Baileigh.

Baileigh says she had an idea about how to help her friend, because she remembered seeing a TV show, where a man who was choking was saved by someone who knew how to apply the Heimlich maneuver.

Her quick thinking is big news in the Brimfield Elementary student newsletter, and in the Field Football League, where both of the girls are cheerleaders. Lauren says she is grateful for Baileigh's friendship and for being there at her time of need.

"If she didn't save me, I wouldn't be here right now and I am really thankful," said Lauren. Baileigh received a special award at school for her heroism.

The principal of Brimfield Elementary, Barbara Werstler, told Fox 8, "It brought tears to my eyes because that's exactly what we want happening here, because we are a great big family, and we look out for one another and take care of each other."