Allison Anderwald has been swimming since she was 2-and-a-half-years-old. The 5-year-old’s family calls her a water bug and a “little mermaid.” And she recently put those skills to use when she saved her mother’s life.
Now they’re calling her a hero.
The 5-year-old’s mother, Tracy, is now recovering at home after suffering a seizure in a swimming pool. Luckily, she taught her daughter water safety, and the little girl knew exactly how to react when she realized her mother had been underwater too long, she told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
“I believe (Allison) had a greater power telling her what to do,” said sister Tedra Hunt. “It’s a miracle… she knew how to react.”
It was Friday afternoon in Portland, Texas. The young mom and her 5-year-old daughter were “enjoying a mommy-daughter day” in her sister’s backyard pool, playing Marco Polo and splashing around, ABC News reported.
Then, all of the sudden, the 34-year-old mom blacked out.
She’d had a seizure and fell unconscious, sinking four feet down to the bottom, where she remained for five minutes. The girl, who wasn’t in the water at the time, soon realized that her mother hadn’t come up for air in a while.
So she jumped into action and saved her life.
The 5-year-old swam across the pool and dragged her to the shallow end, the Dallas Morning News recounted. There, she flipped her mother over and propped her head above the water. She didn’t know her mother had suffered a seizure when she saved her.
Tedra was walking over to the house when she heard Allison and her siblings scream for help. The 5-year-old ran over to tell her aunt what happened; she described her niece as very calm. It took Hunt, Allison, and three of her sisters to pull their mother out of the pool.
Tedra called 911, and she was taken to the hospital.
Security footage captured the moment the girl saved her mother’s life.
At first, doctors didn’t think the young mother would recover and expected that she’d suffered neurological damage. But on Saturday she woke up — surprised to be in the hospital — and tests revealed she would be fine. Now, she has to figure out why she had a seizure in the first place, since she’d never suffered one before.
“I did not know where I was,” Anderwald recalled. “They did not tell me (what happened) for a while.”
Tedra broke the news and told the story of how her 5-year-old daughter saved her life. Since her heroic act, Allison hasn’t said much about it, but doctors are certain she saved Tracy right on time, Hunt noted.
“The doctors explained to us that had Tracy been underwater any longer, she probably wouldn’t be with us right now,” she said. “It is truly amazing that this little girl, who’s actually also pretty small for her age, was able to save my sister.”
The two women lost their father almost exactly two years ago, and Tedra said that if she’d lost Tracy on Friday, she didn’t know how she would’ve reacted.
“Tracy is my sister, best friend, my whole world.”
Although she praised her 5-year-old niece, she believed her father acted as a “guardian angel” and helped his granddaughter save her mother’s life. She also hopes that the story will raise awareness about the importance of teaching kids to swim and emergency preparedness.
“She’s been swimming since she was two-and-a-half,” Anderwald said. “She’s our little mermaid and my little hero… It’s amazing that she even knew what to do.”
[Image via Africa Studio/Shutterstock]