Kettle Worker Saves Life

LIFESAVER­Kettle worker Janet Link stands outside the Target store in Torrance where she performed CPR on two-week old Isaac Alcaraz.


by John Docter – 

A Torrance, Calif. kettle worker kept much more than the spirit of Christmas alive recently when she performed CPR on a two-week old infant in the parking lot outside her bell-ringing post.

Janet Link, 27, stood ringing her bell outside the Target department store in Torrance around noon, December 10, when she heard a woman plead for an employee to call 911. When Link discovered that the woman’s baby had stopped breathing, she responded immediately. “I just grabbed my kettle, asked where the baby was and ran out to the parking lot,” she said.

The baby, Isaac Alcaraz, is the grandson of Elissa Togisala, who works in the Supplies and Purchasing Department at territorial headquarters. Apparently, as he spit up some milk, he inhaled it into his lungs, filling them with liquid.

When Link reached the baby, his father was attempting to revive him in the front seat of their car. “His lips were blue [but the baby] had a heartbeat, so I knew to just keep breathing for him,” she said. About ten minutes later, paramedics arrived and raced him off to a nearby hospital.

Afterward, Link sat and cried and told everyone around to please pray for the baby.

Link, who received CPR training during a class in high school, said she was petrified. “God just guided me. I kept praying the whole time ‘Oh God please let me help this baby.’ And he did. I give all the credit to God for putting people in places.”

Togisala concurs: “She was there for a reason.”

Despite the heroic effort of Link, Isaac’s parents and doctors, the initial prognosis was grim. Doctors feared that he was brain dead and did not expect him to live through the first 24 hours. “I wouldn’t accept that,” declared Togisala. “I picked up a prayer life you wouldn’t believe,” she said, adding that she can’t begin to thank the scores of people who echoed her prayers.

Seven days later, doctors determined Isaac could breathe on his own. One day later, on the eighth day, he opened his eyes. On the tenth day, Isaac was well enough to go home for the holidays.

Future tests will determine the extent of any brain damage, but, based on how hard Isaac has battled the odds so far, the family is optimistic. “We’re believing in a big miracle,” said Togisala.

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