A Story of Survival

Cathy Guerrero
Cathy Guerrero

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.

After all, Cathy Guerrero says it was quick thinking, recognizing the symptoms, and being in the right place, that saved her life.