The next best thing to 911


Two quick-thinking students of St. Teresa School, Runnemede, helped save the life of a woman who had a heart attack while attending the school’s recent Kindergarten graduation.

Lorraine Knecht, 71, of Gloucester Township, was at the school on June 10 to support the daughter of a family friend who was graduating. After experiencing what she thought was gastritis, she excused herself to go to the ladies room, where she then realized it was much more serious.

Feeling as if there was “an elephant” on her chest, Knecht knew she was having a heart attack, and, unable to move or call for help, she prayed.

That’s when sixth graders Madeleine McDonnell and Sarah Rossi entered the bathroom, saw what was happening, and got help. They found three parents at the school who were a doctor, policeman and paramedic.

After being told by hospital doctors how close she came to death, Knecht, now back home, realizes that the students were “the answer to my prayers.” “God sent them. It’s a miracle.”

During the school’s closing Mass on June 16, Knecht was on hand to present McDonnell and Rossi with special bracelets, in thanks for their life-saving actions.

“I’m ever so grateful,” Knecht said.