Knoxville dad awarded, called 'hero' for saving son's life with CPR

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Knoxville father is being called a hero after saving his 5-year-old son with CPR when he went into cardiac arrest.

It's hard to imagine Stone Buckner, a child so full of life, being on the brink of losing his life.

On May 20, Buckner was at Vanderbilt after collapsing and suffering from cardiac arrest at home.

"I just remember shaking him and screaming. After about a full minute, I realized he wasn't going to open his eyes and he wasn't breathing on his own,” said Nikki Buckner, Stone's mom.

It was Stone's dad, David Buckner's, quick thinking that kept his son alive.

"I started doing CPR and did that for over 15 minutes,” David Buckner said.

Except Buckner is not trained in CPR.

"It was definitely a God thing that he was able to work through me to do what was done,” Buckner said.

For days Stone was in the intensive care unit. He underwent surgery and now has an ICD in his chest. His parents said it's a pacemaker and defibrillator that helps Stone's heart beat regularly.

For his superhero-like strength, 5-year-old Stone got a cape and the first ever CPR Choice Heart Hero Award Sunday. His dad also got an award, and is being hailed as a hero for using CPR to save his son's life.

"Just the simple fact of you breathing your own air and taking your own breaths for your son to save him, that's something that -- it's an amazing bond we'll always have. It's something I'll never ever forget,” Buckner sad.

Stone's family said doctors at Vanderbilt are still running tests to figure out what went wrong. They said he's a healthy kid, but God is looking out for him. Stone fought for his life before -- he had trouble breathing when he was first born.

CPR Choice gave dozens of people a chance to learn CPR Sunday, just in time for CPR and AED Awareness Week.

People could get diet and exercise tips, have their blood pressure taken, and there were several kid-friendly events too.

“Most cardiac arrests happen at home and we want people to be able to save their loved ones,” said Cheryl Smith, owner/founder of CPR Choice.

A Blount County woman has been at the forefront of getting information out about CPR and AEDs.

Rhonda Harrill said her son, Tanner Jameson, was playing basketball at Eagleton Middle School in Maryville back in 2009. Jameson fell ill and collapsed.

At just 13 years old, Jameson died from cardiac arrhythmia, Harrill said, adding an AED could have saved her son's life.

“I would have never thought that Tanner would die doing something that he loved. He loved basketball. He was very good at it. Since that time. This is my dream. I want to make sure people get saved all the time,” Harrill said.

Harrill helped pass the Tanner Lee Jameson Act. It requires schools to put an AED in the gym or an accessible location.

A new addition to the act requires schools with AEDs to train staff and run school drills.