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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N,Y. -- On the evening of St. Patrick's Day, Kelly Linakis was working at the Goshen, N.Y., Stewart's Shop convenience store when a boy of six or seven ran into the store, saying his baby sister was having trouble breathing. Linakis ran out to the parking lot with her cell phone and found an eight-month-old, not breathing, having seizures.
She immediately called 911 and put her CPR training to work, opening the baby's airway and breathing for the child. "A few seconds later, she started breathing," Linkakis told a local radio station, "and then troopers and paramedics arrived."
Linakis' own loss of a baby, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1998, spurred her training in CPR. Her past experience working for a bus company, where she interacted with children who suffered from seizures, taught her the importance of stabilizing the baby's head until the seizure was over.
"I assured the mom I was trained in CPR and assured her that 911 was on the call, to make her feel more at ease," Linakis said. "Everyone stayed calm. I don't know why everybody stayed calm. My emotions were to reassure everyone that everything would be OK until the paramedic arrived.
"I had been down this road before. I knew what mom was going through. My main concern was getting that baby breathing again. The baby was very pale. When she revived, she was in and out, and her eyes started to roll. I was getting a little bit nervous then, but didn't let anyone know."
Stewart Shops marketing executive Tom Mailey told CSNews Online the entire Stewart's team was very proud of Linakis. Linakis told the radio station her store colleagues, who hadn't known her personal background, were extremely proud and said she should be proud of herself.
"And I am very proud of myself to be able to do what I did," she said.
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