‘He’s my superhero’: Greenville boy saves great-grandmother’s life

Posted by Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 3:10 pm on Wednesday, April 10 2013

Andrew Ashley, 10, receives a hug from his great-grandmother Karen Wilcox. Andrew made a life-saving 911 call that saved Wilcox’s life Monday morning after she had an allergic reaction to medication. — Daily News/Cory Smith


GREENVILLE — Andrew Ashley saved his great-grandmother’s life Monday morning.

Andrew, 10, and his sister Alaina, 8, were dropped off at Karen Wilcox’s home around 7:30 a.m. to wait for the bus to Baldwin Heights Elementary School.

Wilcox had taken a new medication about half an hour earlier and she was feeling itchy all over. She sat down in the living room with her grandchildren who were watching cartoons. She looked down at her arm and noticed she had scratched it so much it was bleeding.

“I was looking at Andrew and he was looking at me and then everything went black,” Wilcox recalled.

Andrew saw his Nana close her eyes and begin breathing oddly and he knew something was wrong. He grabbed a phone and tried calling his mother, but there was no answer. The fourth-grader doesn’t remember learning what to do in an emergency situation – he just went on instinct.

Andrew Ashley, 10, made a life-saving 911 call Monday morning after noticing his great-grandmother Karen Wilcox had closed her eyes and began breathing “oddly” at her home in Greenville. — Daily News/Cory Smith


“I just had this weird feeling that I should call 911,” Andrew said. “As soon as they answered I just started telling them about what happened. They asked me to count how many breaths she took, so I counted up to five. Then they asked me for the address of the house.”

Andrew didn’t know the address, but quick thinking prevailed again – he ran outside, looked at the numbers on the front of the house and read the numbers to the dispatcher.

“The ambulance arrived and I ran outside and started waving my arms,” he said.

Shannon Ashley received a call from the dispatcher at Baldwin Heights Elementary School, where she works. She immediately drove to Wilcox’s home. Ashley’s children were shaken up by what had happened, but they still wanted to go to school.

When Wilcox woke up, several hours had passed and she was in the ER at Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville. She had had an allergic reaction to medication and her blood pressure had dropped drastically.

“The doctor said had Andrew not called in a timely manner, she would not be here,” said Jennifer Wilcox, who is Shannon Ashley’s mother and Andrew’s grandmother. “Andrew was scared, but he remained calm in a moment that was highly emotional.”

“He’s 10 years old and he responded really well,” added Shane Wilcox, who is Shannon Ashley’s brother and Andrew’s uncle. “We’re all very proud of him.”

Wilcox was hospitalized overnight and released Tuesday. She will have to undergo additional testing, but she is doing well.

“It felt pretty good,” said Andrew of learning his Nana was going to be OK.

“We are so proud of him,” said Shannon Ashley, speaking on behalf of herself and her husband Nick. “I know it was a very scary, frightening situation. He thought about it and knew his grandma needed help and that he needed to call 911. It took a lot of courage.”

Wilcox relocated from Colorado to Michigan last May and has been getting to know her great-grandchildren ever since. She now has a special new bond with Andrew.

“I just thank God for Andrew being there,” Wilcox said. “The relationship between him and I has grown greatly.

“He’s not Batman, he’s not Spiderman, he’s not Superman, but he’s my superhero,” she added proudly.

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