Sammy Nickalls
August 02, 2015 8:44 am

Anyone of any age can become a hero. That’s what Lexi Shymanski taught us when, at just five years old, she heroically saved the lives of her mother and baby brother.

On June 8, mom Angela Shymanski was driving her two children, Lexi and now four-month-old Peter, home to Prince George, B.C. They had been on a vacation near Calgary, and Angela was starting to grow increasingly exhausted as she drove, according to Metro News. Angela told herself she would pull over to get some rest once she got to Jasper, a municipality in Alberta. . . but about ten miles before, the SUV traveled down a steep embankment and collided into a tree, an area that is not able to be seen from the highway.

Angela’s back was broken and she had several internal injuries. She was knocked unconscious. But Lexi woke up to the sound of her brother’s crying, and she knew what she needed to do. Though her car seat was lodged into the seat in front of her, she managed to unfasten her seatbelt, open the passenger door, and climb out of the smashed vehicle. She then had to climb up the embankment — about 40 feet — entirely barefooted. When she reached the road, she was able to flag down a car for help.

“It’s crazy,” Angela, pictured with her family below, told Metro. “I only can remember one or two times where she got out of her five-point harness previously. She somehow got out, adrenaline or whatever, and barefoot hiked up the embankment.”

The person Lexi flagged down ran to the car and rescued Peter from the vehicle, but he wasn’t able to get Angela out by himself, so he flagged down another driver. This turned out to be incredibly, incredibly good fortune — a miracle, really — because the driver was a paramedic who knew not to move Angela, for it may worsen her broken back.

“If they would have jostled me a little bit, I might have been completely paralyzed,” Angela explained to Metro. “It’s hard to know.”

The family was rushed to the hospital. In route, Angela had to be resuscitated twice. Peter, who is now doing well, had serious brain bleed and needed neurosurgery in the hospital. About two months after the crash, Angela is suffering from pain and is still recovering in a hospital bed, but if Lexi hadn’t been so amazingly brave and ran for help, the futures of her mother and brother would be very grim.

As Angela points out, the crash scene was not visible from the highway, and even if search and rescue teams looked for the SUV, she had missed the turnoff on her normal route and was going an entirely different way — the teams may not have been able to find the family.

“It was only because she came up and flagged people down that anybody would have stopped,” she explained to Metro. “It’s crazy because the guy who came to see us in the hospital, he said the medics and the firemen needed ropes to get up and down that embankment, and she did it barefoot.”

A year earlier, Angela and her husband had taught Lexi how to call their neighbors for help, which may have attributed to why Lexi immediately knew what to do. “It seems crazy to do that with a four-year-old, but that must have saved her life,” Angela explained. “It’s amazing and we’re just so glad she did that.”

Amazing, indeed! Lexi is a hero — but right now, she’s much too young to comprehend that. “She just doesn’t know what it means,” Angela explained. “She’s just five years old and so happy to be home and playing with her dog and her ducks.”

Angela is currently confined to a wheelchair after undergoing surgery to remove organs and repair internal bleeding. Unfortunately, the family now has to deal with massive bills as a result of the crash, which is why they’ve set up a GoFundMe.

“The family has now returned home, and is facing the realities of a new life,” reads the GoFundMe, created by friend Cate Nicholson. “There is a loss of income from Angela’s job as a swim instructor, and the B&B she ran out of their home. Husband Travis is off [work] to provide around the clock care to Angela and the kids, as Angela’s condition prevents her from being able to hold her baby.

“Additionally, the family will need to make trips to Edmonton for medical [follow-up], as that is where their Doctors and Specialists [sic] are located,” Cate explains on the GoFundMe. So far, the page has raised over twice the goal at $13,750.

Though the tragedy the Shymanski family has had to face is heartbreaking, we are so inspired by the community that is coming together to help the Shymanski family get by. . . and, of course, by little Lexi and her brave efforts. She may be young, but she’s certainly a hero in our book.

(Images via)

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