How an 8-year-old saved her grandmother’s life in Peabody

Jaelyn Richardson was given a nurses hat by the school nurse at Welch Elementary School after she saved her grandmother with an EpiPen when she was having an allergic reaction this past week. (Spenser R. Hasak)

PEABODY — It’s not the kind of thing you want to wake up to, especially if you’re only 8-years-old.

Early Wednesday morning, Jaelyn Richardson’s grandmother was having an allergic reaction. The Welch Elementary School third grader and her chihuahua, Tony, were the only ones home.

But Richardson quickly called 911.

“The police told me what to do, and I used an EpiPen myself,” said Richardson. She said her grandmother has had allergic reactions before, sometimes from eating seafood, and that there was an EpiPen in the house.

Richardson said she was scared, but used the EpiPen and her grandmother improved a little bit in time for first responders to arrive.

“The police then took the EpiPen off of her and told me to go to a friend’s house to sleep over for a little more before I had to go to school,” she said. On Friday, Richardson said her grandmother was still feeling the aftermath of the allergic reaction, but was doing better.

Lynne Swensen, Richardson’s third grade teacher at the Welch School, said she was amazed to hear how cool and collected her student was under pressure, even though Richardson said she was scared at the time.

“When she came in and said she had to call 911 and give the EpiPen to her grandmother, it was unbelievable to think that an 8-year-old could do that,” said Swensen.

After her life-saving actions, Richardson was given a hand-made nurse’s hat by the school nurse.

Even with her quick thinking, the third grader said she isn’t really thinking about pursuing a future career in medicine, even though she did say her favorite subject in school is science.

“I want to be a teacher or a lawyer,” she said.

When she isn’t in school, Richardson said she enjoys watching television and playing with her friends.

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