A Denton teacher’s attention to detail turned into a race against time to save a little girl’s life.
Taryn Hope is a pre-Kindergarten teacher at Gonzalez School for Young Children and being credited with saving the life of one of her students, 5-year-old Gia Garza.
"She was working on a crown and I noticed that when she was taking her stickers off, her hand was kind of shaking while she was doing it," Ms. Hope said. "I kind of continued to watch her for a little bit and asked her if she was cold and she said no."
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Ms. Hope continued to monitor Gia throughout that day.
"We ended up leave the classroom and it was the end of the day and I was watching her and she went to put on her jacket and not only was her hand shaking, but her arm was starting to shake. She couldn’t get her arm in her jacket and that was kind a red flag," Ms. Hope said. "She’s not cold, she’s not frustrated, she just can’t get it in. That’s when I knew that something just wasn’t right."
Something wasn’t right. A visit to the pediatrician turned into a trip to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. Just days after the incident in class, Gia was having brain surgery to remove a large tumor.
"My heart just sunk into my stomach. I went numb. I was at loss for words," Gia’s mom, Candace Mitchell said. "She was very active, very happy, never sick, never ran a fever."
Mitchell said in hindsight, there was a small something she did notice before Ms. Hope noticed the shaking.
"Sitting back now and thinking maybe she was a little more tired in the weeks before that and maybe not as interested in some of the things that she enjoyed doing. We kind of figured that maybe she is coming down with a cold or something minor," Mitchell said.
Gia’s surgery was in February, but there is still a small portion of it still left in her brain that is being monitored. She has therapy twice a week but is back in school living an otherwise healthy life.
Gia’s family said they are forever grateful for Ms. Hope.
In return, Ms. Hope said, she was just glad she could be there.
Denton ISD honored Ms. Hope for her actions at the beginning of this school year.