Bridey Heing
Updated July 25, 2015

For a St. Louis, Missouri fourth grader, a science project ended up saving her grandfather’s life when knowledge she gained while doing research helped her identify the signs of a stroke.

A couple months ago, Sophia Tabors finished a science fair project about strokes, a topic she chose because her grandfather had suffered one recently.

“My other grandpa had a stroke and during that stroke I’m like, ‘Well it’d be interesting to find out why strokes happen and what causes them,’” Tabors told St Louis’ KMOV.

She won a second-place ribbon for her work, but the skills she gained while working on the project proved far more important than just ribbon winning at her local school.

While at the grocery store with her other grandfather, Sophia noticed he’d dropped a bag of apples. When she tried to help, she noticed something was definitely not right.

”He was staring at it and I was trying to ask him if he was OK,” she told KMOV. ”He was saying something but I didn’t get it, and his face was droopy on one side.”

In some cases, strokes can be treated when caught early, but if left unattended they can lead to significant loss of functions like motor skills. And if severe, they can lead to death. Sophia recognized the signs right away and called 911, a move that likely saved her grandfather’s life.

”I have no doubt she saved a lot of his functions and probably his life, too,” Dr Amer Alshekhlee said.

Her grandfather is currently recovering, and it looks like he’ll be okay, thanks to his granddaughter’s quick thinking.

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