The Internet was ablaze on Tuesday morning as residents posted concerns about all the sirens on Pakachoag St. What they didn’t know was that first-grader Max Skalecki was in control of the siren and air horns on Auburn Fire’s Rescue 1 and he was returning to school for the first time since May 10th.
Around noontime on May 10th, a 911 call from Pakachoag School reported a student had fallen on the playground and was unresponsive. Guidance Counselor Kristie Deyoe and Paraprofessional Jayne Gaboriault saw that Max was not breathing and radioed the school nurse. As first responders raced to the school, Nurse Carrie Cashman began CPR, and emergency units began arriving two minutes after the initial call.
As Max arrived at Pakachoag on Tuesday, he gave high-fives to all his classmates and teachers before going into the auditorium to present some awards to those who helped save his life. Police Officers, Firefighters and the Pakachoag Staff all got certificates, and photographs of visits by the staff and firefighters at Children’s Hospital were also presented. Most adults were holding back tears since they understood the enormity of this rescue. The children were just thrilled to have their classmate back.
Parents Monika and Grzegorz (Dad said, “or just call me Greg.”) could not be happier with every aspect of the care given to their son. From the school, to the first responders, to UMASS Medical Center, and to Children’s, they were thrilled. Tuesday’s events were like icing on the cake, a cake of deep and sincere gratitude. Monika said, “People we don’t even know came out. Some even delivered dinners.” There was also the t-shirt fundraiser, and many wore them, #MAXSTRONG is on the back.
The treatment given to Max was complicated for the “primary arrhythmia” diagnosis and included a four day induced coma. He also returned to school with an internal pacemaker and an internal defibrillator. At this point, the family is only awaiting some genetic testing results as the search continues for the cause of this major medical incident.
Max’s older brother Lucas, a grade 4 student at SWIS, drove in with School Resource Officer Brian Kennedy. He told Auburn Mass Daily, “They told me he was in the hospital, and I thought ‘Oh, he broke his leg’.” Now, “He’s running, jumping and misbehaving. I just have to thank all the first responders.” Kennedy added, “It’s unbelievable what they did.”
Nurse Cashman said this was her first time doing CPR on an actual victim, and the only thought in her head was, “That’s somebody’s baby.” She was also greatly relieved to see police, fire and EMS arrive.
Fire Chief Steve Coleman previously stated, “This is an example of extraordinary team work. From the initial 911 call with good communication and updates, to CPR being started by the school nurse prior to the arrival of first responders, to quick and efficient Advanced Life Support by Paramedics. We gave him the best chance of survival, and he is here.”
This is a great story of success, and we all wish Max a long and healthy life!