Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year and remember all the things you’re thankful for. And this Thanksgiving, one Milwaukee area family is especially thankful for the courage, confidence, and character that their daughter and granddaughter learned through Girl Scouting. This past spring, 12-year-old Girl Scout Cadette Arianna recognized that her grandmother was dangerously ill and took the necessary steps to get her the medical attention she needed, resulting in saving her life. In recognition of her heroic efforts, Arianna was honored with the Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Medal of Honor this morning.
Arianna’s grandmother had fallen and called Arianna to come home to help her up. When Arianna arrived, she recognized that her grandmother had not simply fallen, but was out of breath, sweating, and was mixing up her words. Arianna recognized that something was wrong – even though her grandmother insisted she would be fine – and decided to call 911. When the ambulance arrived Arianna collected her grandmother’s medications and insurance information that she knew the hospital would need. She then rode with her grandmother to the hospital and helped tell the doctors at the hospital what she experienced and why she decided that her grandmother need medical attention. All the while Arianna kept a calm head and helped keep her grandmother calm in a situation that was very scary. At the hospital doctors discovered Arianna’s grandmother had two infections and a weakened heart, requiring surgery and a weeklong stay at the hospital.
“I was present when Rita was brought into our emergency room. I was asking questions as to what happened when she collapsed, and discovered that the singular deciding factor as to whether she lived or died lay in Arianna’s hands that day,” said Jordan Nelson, clinical laboratory lead at Wheaton Franciscan Laboratories – St. Francis. Nelson was one of several people who wrote a recommendation letter for Arianna to receive her award. “Arianna knew when she saw her grandmother on the floor that it was not a mere accidental fall. By reading the context clues of the situation, she saw her grandmother was in grave danger and needed help immediately. Normally with children of Arianna’s age, they would reach out to an adult before making such a decision – but Arianna knew that would cost precious seconds that Rita didn’t have.”
“I don’t remember a lot of the detail, but do remember Arianna keeping me calm,” said Arianna’s grandmother, Rita. “Her actions got me to the hospital rapidly and I received the care I needed. I am very proud of her and I thank her for her actions.”
Arianna credits Girl Scouting for making her prepared to make the right decisions that day – she says, “Girl Scouting has taught me to be a leader, use the resources I have around me, and to think outside of the box.”
“The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place,” said Christy Brown, GSWISE CEO, who presented Arianna with her award this morning. “Arianna is a living testament to the highest principles of the Girl Scout Promise and Law and we could not be prouder of her achievement.”
Only 19 other Girl Scouts across the country have received this award this year, demonstrating that it is a very rare honor. I think I speak for everyone at GSWISE when I say that we are extremely proud and thankful for Arianna and all of our GSWISE Girl Scouts who act with courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place each and every day.