Real Heroes: Sam Cimball
By Jessica Pain
Real heroes: Sam Cimball
On Mar. 8, 2012, Everett resident Molly Cimball received a phone call from her neighbor, Karen Thibert. Karen asked Molly to check on her husband, Dick Thibert, 69, because she had not been able to reach him by phone. Molly and her 12-year old son, Sam, rushed over to the Thibert’s home.
The doors and windows were locked, and the blinds were closed. They circled the house to find an open window. Molly peeked inside and didn’t see Dick anywhere, but when Sam looked through the window he was able to see Dick’s arm and part of his torso. It appeared that Dick had fallen and was lying on the ground between his couch and coffee table.
Molly panicked. Sam stayed calm and immediately ran to the front door, knowing he had to get inside.
“He might not be breathing. We’ve got to get to him now,” Sam said to his mom.
Sam kicked the door several times with his size 13 shoes until he had kicked it down. Molly called 911 immediately. She was unsure of the Thiberts’ address, so Sam grabbed the phone and ran to the front of the house. He read the address to the dispatcher. In the meantime, Molly found a blanket and comforted Dick, talking to him and making sure he could understand her. A couple minutes later, paramedics from Snohomish County Fire District 1 arrived and took Dick to Northwest Hospital.
Dick suffered from a stroke and was hospitalized for 13 days. Molly said that he suffered from three strokes that day, two minor ones and one that was more severe. After he was released from the hospital, he spent five weeks in a care center.
“If we had gotten there any later he could have had permanent damage or worse,” Molly said. “Sam really did save his life.”
When a stroke occurs every second counts. The effects of a stroke depend primarily on the location of the obstruction and to what extent the brain tissue is affected. Common effects include: paralysis to one side of the body, vision problems, speech and language problems, or memory loss.
“He had a remarkable recovery,” Molly said. “He can still do everything. The only damage was to his speech.” Molly said the Thiberts have always been close family friends. She shares leftovers with them, and Dick comments on her spaghetti.
“[Dick] is kind of like my grandpa; he is old, and he is a really nice person,” Sam said.
“If I wasn’t there that day he wouldn’t be next door right now. I mean, my mom didn’t see him, and I was lucky I did.”
Each year for the past 17 years the Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross has honored the “everyday heroes” whose selfless acts save another’s life. The 2012 Real Heroes Breakfast, which took place at the Tulalip Resort Casino in December 2012, honored these community members and raised funds for Red Cross programs.
Throughout the year, Snohomish County Shop. Dine. Live. will feature a number of the stories of these ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. For more information visit snohomishcounty.redcross.org.