By Patrick Forrest, Chicago Crusader
There’s probably not a day that goes by without a report of someone dying from cardiac arrest in the news or in our personal lives. More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen each year in the United States with 70 percent occurring in homes. Although Cynthia Luckett’s heart attack occurred at home, she did not join the 90 percent of those people who die because of her grandson, Adam McKinney.
Divine intervention is what Nicole McKinney called the actions that her son, Adam, took to save his grandmother, Cynthia Luckett’s life with CPR on Nov. 10. She had fallen into cardiac arrest, actions that he was recognized for by the Chicago Fire Department at a ceremony at Percy Julian High School on Dec. 6. He was recognized by B.A.M. (Becoming A Man) counselor Troy Withers, who is seen as a mentor for Adam by his family.
“I put a lot of it on Divine intervention.” Nicole said, “I believe in God and everything that I have and do or happens is guided by God and that night he was sitting in the corner to give us all the right things to do.”
“It takes a special person to stay calm and be able to keep your wits about you and perform that,” Nicole said of her son.
Nov. 10 would have been Luckett’s 47th wedding anniversary to her now late husband, who died earlier in the year. “We lost my father earlier this year,” Nicole explained. “He passed on April 21 of this year.”
And while Adam is receiving the accolades, the entire family played a role in saving Luckett’s life. “It was a concerted effort by the whole family, I can not even describe the feeling in those first few minutes.” Nicole said. “I panicked.”
Destiny, Adam’s sister, heard a strange gasping noise coming from the grandmother’s bedroom, which was directly across the hall. The noise was concerning to the granddaughter who called out to her mother who was in a downstairs bedroom.
“[Destiny] would usually sleep [upstairs] in my room,” Adam said. “But that day for some reason she decided to stay down in her room and that’s the only reason we knew, if not for that, we would have just found my grandmother on her bed, dead.”
Nicole initially thought her mother was having a cramp in her leg so she began gently massaging her leg as she tried to ask her if everything was okay. Immediately she realized the mother was not responding so she began calling out for help asking her daughter to call 911.
“If anybody knows me, I’m like ‘who you telling to shut up and move, I can get this’ God moved me where I needed to be, quickly. He shut my dramatic sister up, quickly. And let him do his thing.” Nicole said. “I saw a different side to ‘silly Adam,’ he became a man that night in my eyes.”
When her son, Adam, entered the room he shoved his mother out of the way while telling her she was doing it wrong. He began mouth to mouth and chest compressions correctly until the ambulance arrived 5 minutes later and paramedics took over.
“All while he was doing the compressions he just kept saying ‘not my grandma, not my grandma’.” Nicole said. “That’s all he could say, all he could do.”
But even in that moment Adam had confidence that he knew what to do, the senior football team captain fell back on his experience in clutch moments on the field to know he could get it done.
“I just kept telling myself that she’s going to be okay,” Adam said. “That she’s going to be okay and I’m just going to keep doing this.”
The reason Adam knew CPR is because his grandmother wanted him to be a Lifeguard. American Red Cross Advanced Lifeguard classes were being offered at the Kroc Center on 119th Street in Chicago so he tried to get out of it by saying he didn’t have carfare to get there everyday.
“I told him ‘you’re not going to sit around all summer doing nothing, get the training and the certificate as a lifeguard whether you get a job out of it or not,” Luckett explained. “Part of that was the CPR training, and little did I know that that assistance would save my life here. That was Divine Providence.”
Luckett was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital where she was treated and released.
“Ever since he’s been an infant I’ve been calling [Adam] ‘the king’,” Luckett explained “So when I came to and learned what happened I just said ‘thank God for the king, thank God for my king.’”