Orange County teen honored after saving friend's life with CPR

CHESTER, Orange County (WABC) -- A 14-year-old boy who used CPR to save his friend's life was honored by his town Wednesday.

Ty'Shawn James was playing basketball with his 14-year-old friend Jaden Mercado on Saturday, March 27, at Chester Elementary School when Mercado went into cardiac arrest.

Before he collapsed, he had complained about feeling light headed.

"I gave him my water bottle, he played on for a little bit more, and then as he went to go sit down, he passed out," James said.

James called 911, and dispatcher Stewart Matthew instructed him how to administer CPR on his ailing friend.

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Mercado began breathing again after a few minutes, and paramedics from Mobile Life Support and officers from the Town and Village of Chester Police Departments arrived at the scene.

Mercado was rushed to Westchester Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for a previously undiagnosed heart condition. He is still recovering.

"For him to be calm and how I heard on that 911 call, we have adults who panic in a situation like that," James' mother Latasha James said.

As calm as he seemed in the moment, James' mother said he suffered a panic attack after seeing his friend loaded into an ambulance and unsure if he'd survive.

"I was praying for him as I walked home, I was a little scared, like what if that didn't help, I was very anxious," James said.

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James and Matthew were honored by Orange County officials.

James, a freshman at Chester Academy, met Matthew, a three-year veteran, on Wednesday night at the Town of Chester's Board meeting. They shared a hug with Ty'Shawn's parents looking on.

"For a child contacting 911, you couldn't have asked for a better caller than Ty'Shawn," Matthew said. "You could hear it in his voice that he was calm and could follow directions. I prayed for the family of the boy who collapsed after we hung up, and I am glad that everything worked out. I was happy that I could be on that call with Ty'Shawn."

The Orange County officials are not the only ones saying thanks.

"The boys are amazing, they're such heroes at such a young age, especially Ty'Shawn...I almost have no words to say how grateful I am," said Renee Pring, Mercado's mother.

It will be a while until the boys can play basketball together again, but for now they still play against each other every day online.

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