NewsPinellas County


St. Pete woman credits Apple Watch for saving her life, helping doctors discover lung cancer

Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 17:56:26-04

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — A St. Pete woman is crediting her Apple Watch for saving her life after it called 9-1-1 after she fell, and doctors discovered she had lung cancer.

Raylene Hackenwerth doesn’t recall what happened on March 3, but her son does.

"My mom’s Apple Watch alerted my phone so I received a text that there was a hard fall, I was in the shower so I didn’t see it," said Jason Hackenwerth

It was the Apple Watch Jason had gotten his mother for Christmas for her to track her workouts.

But this activity was unplanned. The 71-year-old grandmother had fallen, hard. The watch detected the fall and called 9-1-1 on its own. Joshua Stevens was one of the paramedics who responded, and he said a distress call from a watch is pretty unique.

"It sends the geolocation, the latitude and longitude, so I would say it's a pretty useful feature," said Stevens.

Raylene was nearly unconscious and very banged up. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered a mass in her lungs that was cancerous.

"If it hadn’t been for the falling and the Apple Watch calling them, I wouldn’t even know this was there and maybe by the time it had got found in the future, it would be too late," said Raylene.

Now she is waiting to undergo treatment and said she and her son are both grateful for a feature they didn’t even know the watch had.

Jason Hackenwerth with his 71-year-old mother Raylene Hackenwerth.

"I couldn’t be happier that that is what we decided to give her for Christmas this year. It never occurred to me that it would save her life," said Jason.

The gift of a timepiece that Raylene said has given her the gift of more time.

"I suppose it was one of the best Christmas presents I could’ve gotten," said Raylene.