Kari & Kyshia Perkins

December 16 is a day Kari Perkins will always remember: it's the day she thought she had lost her daughter.

Kari was spending an evening in her Camdenton home, caring for her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Kyshia, who had been feeling sick with sinus congestion and a fever. “She came up to me and laid her head down,” Kari remembered. “I thought she was going to sleep."

But Kari says after a few minutes, something terrifying happened: Kyshia quit breathing. "She started turning blue!" Kari said. She discovered later Kyshia was having a seizure due to elevated fever, but in that moment she feared for her daughter's life. "I had never seen a seizure before. I thought she was dead!" she said. 

Kari picked up her baby and ran to her mom and dad with Kyshia's limp body in her arms. Her mother immediately began CPR and they called 911. “While mom was performing CPR, I started praying and asking God for help!”

She said emergency responders were there in a flash, and they helped save her daughter. “They responded so fast! The Mid County Fire Protection District firefighters were the first ones here. They were knocking on our door within two minutes after we called 911,” Kari marveled. “A few minutes later, there were six patrol cars, the Camdenton Police, Camden County Sheriff and a Mercy – Camden County Ambulance in our driveway!”

Life-saving procedures continued to be performed on Kyshia. Soon she regained consciousness and started breathing on her own. The toddler was rushed to Lake Regional Hospital by ambulance; life-saving efforts continued along the way, with Kari right next to her daughter. At the hospital, doctors stabilized Kyshia and performed tests. “They said her fever had spiked too fast and that is what had caused the seizure,” Kari said. “They told me it normally won’t happen again within 24-hours, but it could, and what I should do if it does.” 

Kyshia was released later the same evening.

“Being a mom who never experienced anything like this before, I was freaking out. I thought my baby had died. It meant so much to me that EMS got there so fast. They were so patient and kind to calm me down and reassure me that they were doing everything they could to make my baby better,” she said.

The normally happy and active little girl has still been under the weather. Kyshia was diagnosed with rhinovirus, which brings sinus congestion, coughing and fever. “She has not had much of an appetite and she has been sleeping a lot,” Kari said. But, she says she is so "thankful and ecstatic" that her daughter is still with here. "I thought my baby girl had died. To see her happy and alive is all I want for Christmas. I have not been able to stop loving on her and I have been spoiling her like crazy."

She added, "I am so very thankful and amazed at how many good people showed up to make sure my baby girl was going to be okay. It was like all of Camden County truly cared and they rushed to her rescue! God bless all of our Camden County EMS and officers!"

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