Girl celebrates 11th birthday after near-death experience - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Girl celebrates 11th birthday after near-death experience

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A little girl stopped breathing, 11-years-ago on May 18th.

Emergency responders and medical staff, at the time, saying it was a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and preparing the Dubuque family for the worst.

But at 21-days-old, the little girl, Camdyn Reisner, proved she was a fighter. The medical staff at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque were able to revive her.

Now, 11 years later, The Reisner family is walking into the very same hospital through the same doors, but this time it is for a much happier reason.

The family bringing the medical staff that saved Camdyn's life back together to meet her.

"Last time I saw you Camdyn you were just about this big," said Gwen Hesselman when she greeted Camdyn for the first time since the day she helped save Camdyn's life.

From an infant to an outgoing young girl, Camdyn Reisner is fearless.

"She makes me very proud," said Camdyn's mother Mandy, getting a little choked up, showing the tears of a mother who has seen her daughter fight for her life. 

"She stopped breathing in my arms," recalls Mandy.

But for 11 years, Mandy has watched Camdyn live life by playing soccer, dancing, and laughing with her siblings.

"There is really nothing that I could simply say to Camdyn, 'I don't think we are going to be able to do that.' She is not going to take that for an answer. She is going to say, 'Yea, we can mom. Yea, we can," said Mandy.

Camdyn, a light in the family and one they thought they had lost. When Camdyn stopped breathing as an infant, she didn't take another breath for 57 minutes.

"They told us that, if she were to wake up, that she would be a vegetable," said Mandy.

But Camdyn did wake up and through a lifetime of therapy has learned to speak, walk, and simply be a kid.

All because of the medical staff at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, the Reisner family gets to, "hold our princess in our arms. . . .kiss her goodnight every night," said Many in a speech thanking the staff.

The family giving a heartfelt thank you that means everything to the medical staff and first responders who were there more than a decade ago on May 18, 2006.

"We work with life and death every day and to be able to see Camdyn, who basically was dead when she was brought to the E.R. with full resuscitation. Then to see her today,  it is really special and it is more special to be recognized by the family for the job well done," said Gwen Hesselman, who was the Clinical Coordinator for Respiratory Care at Mercy Hospital at the time, and worked on Camdyn in the E.R.

Nearly a dozen of the staff on-call that night were able to be here and meet Camdyn on Thursday.

All of them just kept repeating how amazing, fantastic, and special this moment was to them. 

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