NJ girl scout, 13, saves choking mom

Marley Madureira had earned her first aid training badge after her troop met with paramedics and a nurse

Rebecca Panico
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

NUTLEY, N.J. — Peggy Madureira started hitting the kitchen sink to get the attention of her 13-year-old daughter.

The mom was choking on a large antibiotic pill. Her daughter, Marley Madureira, was luckily in the kitchen at their Nutley home that night. She was looking for supplies to finish a science project.

“My eyes kind of went wide open,” Marley told NJ Advance Media. "So I was thinking, ‘Okay I have to do something’ because my dad was asleep.”

That’s when the Heimlich maneuver training she learned as a girl scout came kicked in. Marley jumped into action without hesitation, her mom said.

Marley used the maneuver four times before the pill popped out. Her mom caught the pill in her hand just as her husband came running downstairs to check on the commotion.

“Her height helped me here tremendously,” said Madureira, adding that she’s about two inches shorter than her 5\u20326\u2033 daughter. "The final one — I felt like my feet were in the air in that final one — and that final compression, she got it out.”

Marley was honored for her actions in January with one of the highest recognitions from the Girl Scouts of the United States of America: the medal of honor lifesaving award. She was presented with the medal last week at Nutley Town Hall in a small ceremony with her mom and Mayor Mauro Tucci.

“I am so proud of Marley,” the mayor said. "She is an amazing young lady, who demonstrated great leadership skills. We live in a wonderful town, with great resources and a caring community, and we are happy to be here to honor one of our young heroes.”

Peggy Madureira is Marley’s girl scout troop leader. The mom started the troop when Marley was in kindergarten with about 16 girls. Their numbers have dwindled over the years to two as the girls got older and became involved in other activities.

Each year, the girls received some form of first aid training for a badge. One year the girls met with local paramedics, another year a scout’s mom who was a nurse gave a workshop.

Madureira is especially grateful her daughter learned the Heimlich technique through the girl scouts, considering her own experience.

“It’s not about the accolades,” Madureira said. "It’s to motivate anybody to get trained. I know how to do Heimlich on myself, but I panicked and was not thinking rationally. Thank God she was there.”

Madureira reached out to the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey to learn if her daughter could qualify for the award. Mom, dad and Marley all wrote statements about the choking incident to the national organization.

The national organization notified Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey this summer that Marley would be honored. The award recognizes “gallantry in saving a life or attempting to save a life without considerable risk to a girl’s life.”

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey CEO Natasha Hemmings also presented Marley with an award letter and pin from the national girl scouts organization during the outside ceremony at town hall.

“Marley is a young woman of character and integrity, who lives by the Girl Scout Law and Promise,” said Hemmings. “She called upon her experience as a Girl Scout to save her mother’s life. It is an inspiring story for all of us.”

Marley has earned multiple badges for robotics projects, cooking and jewelry making. One of her most memorable times as a girl scout, Marley said, was going on a trip at Camp Lou Henry Hoover in Middleville, where she did archery, kayaking and horseback riding.

Although Marley said she was scared when she first saw her mom choking, she felt proud when she got the recognition. She said she received Heimlich maneuver training years ago.

“But it did stick," Marley said of the training.


©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.


Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Presents Marley Madureira with the Medal of Honor Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Scout from...

Posted by Mauro G. Tucci on Tuesday, September 29, 2020


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