By Angela Keen
HONOLULU (KHNL) - Cathy Guerrero doesn't get paid for this. She gladly gives her time to reach out and volunteer at the Queen's Medical Center.
"There is such a sense of family" says Guerrero
Every step she takes each day is a gift. That's because she is a stroke survivor.
She says "I've been able to get back to walk with a cane but my left arm and leg are retired"
She was volunteering at a hospital on the mainland sitting at a switchboard just like this when the symptoms hit.
"I was eating a cheeseburger and all of a sudden I couldn't talk, I answered a call and my mouth wouldn't work and I turned around and slid out of my chair because I lost all the feeling out of my left side" says Guerrero
She happened to be on the phone with a nurse.
Neurointensive specialist Doctor Deborah Green says seconds can save a life and even help reduce damage.
We have a medication that can be given at the onset of those symptoms so if people wait longer for that period of time we may not have a treatment to give them" says Green.
But studies show, in Hawaii people react slower and are often afraid to call 911.