A 6-year-old is being honored after she ran to get help when her mother collapsed at home while experiencing a seizure.
Conover, North Carolina, Mayor Kyle J. Hayman recognized Feb. 5 as “Quinn Hill Day” and presented the first grader with a certificate of recognition during a city council ceremony last Monday.
“We were honored to recognize her and her family Monday night (2/5/24) at the Conover City Council meeting where we adopted Resolution 05-24 naming February 5, 2024 as ‘Quinn Hill Day,’” Hayman told “Good Morning America” in an emailed statement. “This young lady had the wherewithal to recognize the emergency, take her younger brother by the hand, leave her home and seek help from neighbors she knew and trusted.”
Jennifer Hill, Quinn’s mother, told “GMA” that on Jan. 10, the last thing she recalled was that she was at home, preparing dinner for Quinn and her younger brother. She said her 6-year-old daughter later told her what had happened.
“Quinn told me that I actually sat down in the chair that I'm sitting in right now and I looked up at the ceiling and started breathing weird,” the 39-year-old said. “She said that I then fell out of the chair onto my left side and my fists were clenched and my body was convulsing. My eyes were open and she kept saying, ‘Mommy, Mommy,’ and I would not respond.”
“We were shaking and her hands were together and her eyes were open and she was looking straight up,” the 6-year-old added, saying the incident unfolded quickly and left her feeling scared.
According to Hill, when she didn’t respond to her, Quinn made the impromptu decision to take her 3-year-old brother and run outside and knock on their neighbors’ doors to get help.
“This is the first time that they've ever left our home without us,” the mom of three said. “She even told us that she looked both ways before crossing the street. But they went to one neighbor's home and they were not home and after that, they went to the next home that they knew. And that neighbor was home and responded to the home with the children.”
The neighbor returned with Quinn and her brother to their home and, after seeing their mother, called Hill’s husband and the children’s father, police Lt. Jason Hill, who dispatched emergency medical services to their home.
Jennifer Hill said she was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, North Carolina, where doctors determined she had had a grand mal seizure, the first seizure she’d ever had.
A grand mal seizure, also known as a tonic-clonic seizure, is a type of seizure that affects both sides of the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cause of seizures may vary and can range from a traumatic brain injury or a central nervous system infection to a brain tumor or stroke. Other times, a cause can be unknown. The CDC says seizures are relatively common and about one in 10 people may experience a seizure at least once in their lifetime.
The CDC recommends people call 911 if someone who has never had a seizure before experiences one; if someone has problems breathing or waking up after a seizure; if a person’s seizure lasts longer than five minutes; if a person has a second seizure soon after their first one; if a person is hurt or in water when they have a seizure; or if a person is pregnant or has a condition such as heart disease or diabetes.
Jennifer Hill said although she was discharged from the hospital the night she was admitted, the seizure has made a significant impact on her life and she’s made some precautionary changes. She encouraged other parents to “think ahead” and talk to kids about how to respond in the event of a medical emergency.
“We've always spoken with her and our children just about emergencies, but normally it's a fire or a tornado,” Jennifer Hill said. “So now my iPhone is set up to where it recognizes her face and will automatically unlock in the event she needs to call 911. And we've even discussed that if my husband is not at home and we have a Ring [doorbell] camera that she can push that and it will alert this phone as another way.”
“It's easy to say it will never happen to me but ultimately, we never know. If precautions can be put into place to help protect your children, I encourage parents to think ahead and think about the world we live in today,” she added.
Jennifer Hill said she’s beyond proud of how Quinn reacted on Jan. 10.
“Proud is an understatement, honestly. She's my angel. She’s my hero for what she did,” she said.
Mayor Hayman added that Quinn also embodied the definition of being “heroic.”
“At our city council meeting, I read a definition of the word ‘heroic’ as ‘showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation,’ and I think young Quinn definitely meets this definition,” he said.
“Credit goes to her parents for teaching her how to stay calm in a situation such as this and to her neighbors for immediately getting her mother Jennifer the help she needed," the mayor added. "Conover is a city where people look after each other and I think that was proven in this case.”