Chicago Middle Schooler Saves Two Lives in One Week
(CHICAGO) -- Saving a life is impressive enough, but a Chicago area middle school student saved not only his best friend but also his teacher, all in the same week.
Travon Avery, an eighth grader at Herget Middle School in Aurora, Ill., was in class one day in January when his best friend Jose Duran started choking on a candy bar.
"He was eating candy and I made him laugh and then the candy got stuck in throat and he started choking. Everyone around was in shock," Travon said Friday in an interview with ABC News. "So I put my hand under his rib cage three times and did the Heimlich."
Jose's face, Travon said, was turning red, his eyes were welling with tears, and he was clutching his throat.
"I thought I was going to lose my friend. It was very scary," Travon said.
Thanks to Travon's quick thinking and immediate action, he was able to dislodge the candy and save Jose's life.
But Travon's amazing week did not end there. Two days later he was in math class when his teacher took a turn for the worse.
"She wasn't acting normal, so we were paying very close attention to her. Then she leaned over on the board and closed her eyes. We thought she was just sleeping, but she was passed out," Travon recalled. "I checked to see if she was breathing and she was, so I ran out of the class and got the nurse."
Soon an ambulance arrived to help the teacher.
That night the school called to inform Travon and his mother, Crystal Ruffin-Mason, that the teacher had been suffering from migraines and was now doing fine.
"They said that his quick action really helped avert something serious happening to his teacher," Ruffin-Mason said. "And they wanted to check on Travon because he was shaken up. They wanted to make sure he was okay emotionally."
Travon's heroics have since brought him national recognition. Earlier this week he appeared on The Steve Harvey Show, where he was named a Harvey's Hero. Travon says his mother deserves credit for his life-saving efforts.
"My mom taught me if someone needed help not to just stand there and not do anything, but to make an effort and try," he said.
On the show, Travon was presented with a $10,000 college scholarship from the U Promise program by Sallie Mae.
"I feel glad and blessed," he said.
"I'm so proud of him," said his mother. "That was so wonderful. Now he's so motivated and excited about college."
In addition to music, Travon's true passion is basketball, she said, but recently he had an idea that kids should focus less on sports and more on first aid.
"So you normally have camp for sports, but we should have a camp for teaching people CPR and the Heimlich," he suggested. "Even just a couple days a week where kids come out and learn."
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