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Quick thinking saves a runner on Sammamish River Trail

Previous CPR training and Darth Vader helped this 14-year-old assist a fallen runner until paramedics arrived. Video courtesy of American Red Cross.

The Sammamish River Trail was busy with walkers, cyclists and joggers when Nick Sykes and his family went for a walk.

Almost right away, they saw a runner on the ground, and a woman on the phone with 911. 

"We didn't really know that anything was wrong until we got closer and he rolled over onto his back and he was doing this weird sort of mechanical thing with his arms," said Lisa Sykes, Nick's mom. "I thought 'That's weird' and I asked her, 'Is he going to be okay?' and she said, 'No he's not responding to me.'"

Lisa ran to the nearby parking lot in search of help. 

"When my mom ran off there was another man there checking if he was breathing and I heard him say 'he's not breathing' and I said, 'I know CPR.'" Nick recalled. "I jumped in and started doing CPR, ironically to the Imperial March from Star Wars. 

Nick had been trained numerous times through Boy Scouts to use either 'Stayin Alive' by the Bee Gees or Imperial March from Star Wars to set the right rhythm for chest compressions. 

As Nick did compressions right on the trail, his mom rushed back with paramedics in tow.

"When we were approaching the scene, my daughter was standing with the leash of the dog, and Nick was nowhere to be seen," said Lisa. "Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man doing CPR and I said to my daughter, 'Where's Nick?' and she pointed. The man was my 14-year-old son, doing CPR."

Nick was doing so well, paramedics had him keep going while they set up.

"I kept looking at his face and he was very stoic in the moment," said Lisa. "I was really proud."

Credit: American Red Cross
Nick's previous CPR training came from Boy Scouts.

"I wouldn't have felt right about it if I had just stood there and watched him just die because that would not have been the right thing to do," said Nick. 

At just 14 years old, Nick did do the right thing. With help from a villain's theme song, he became a hero.

"Having the knowledge and being trained goes a long way because you never know when you're gonna come across something like that and be able to save somebody's life," said Lisa. 

Red Cross CPR and first aid training saves lives. Classes are available every day in Western Washington.

This story was done in partnership with the American Red Cross. KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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