Two brothers from Daventry have been shortlisted for an award after performing life-saving CPR on a teenage colleague for 40 minutes after she stopped breathing.
Pep Forgione, 50, and Mario, 47 - who had no first aid training at the time - were at their business, Michael’s Golden Chippy on September 17, when 18-year-old Beth Nicholls suffered a cardiac arrest.
Now, one year on from the incident, the pair has been chosen as British Heart Foundation finalists for the Heart Heroes ceremony - set to take place on September 27 in Leciester - after supporters pledged their votes on social media.
Mario said: “We lost her twice, she actually died in front of us, literally in my hands, Pep was there and she took her last breath.
“It was horrific, but we feel blessed that she is still alive.
“A lot of customers still ask ‘how is Beth?’”
Just after 9pm that night the brothers were tidying up behind the counter, in the company of Beth.
Mario turned around to speak to her before she collapsed and hit her head.
Beth had suffered a cardiac arrest – she had no history of heart problems and no symptoms beforehand.
Pep said: “It was like, hold on a minute, did she just faint, has she just slipped?
“You try and work out quickly in your head what’s going on. He panicked, I ran to the phone, he tended to her and before you know it I’m speaking to paramedics and he is trying to bring her back round. I think the speed it all happened probably played a big part in her being here today.”
At the time, the brothers were hailed for not only saving Beth’s life, but for promptly starting CPR, which kept her brain oxygenated and prevented it suffering damage.
Since then, the duo, who work on the town’s Headlands estate, have paid for their staff to undergo first aid training.
Pep added: “I think it would benefit everybody, because you never know when it’s going to happen.”
In total that day, Beth stopped breathing four times. Twice at work and twice in the company of paramedics.
Now Beth has had an operation to fit an internal cardiac defibrillator – a device that will act automatically if she ever suffers the same problem.