One grandfather's actions proved he had a heart of gold and unconditional love for his family. When a freak accident threatened a loved one, he acted quickly. Grab your tissues and read the heartbreaking story.
Would you risk your life for someone else? While many people would like to say yes to that question, few step up when tragedy strikes.
Life can change in the blink of an eye, and how we respond to those changes can make a significant difference and define us forever. One man gained a new title when he made a brave and selfless decision.
WALKING THEIR DOGS
Ma'Lyiah and her sister Bailey were accustomed to walking their six dogs daily, enjoying nature and having fun along the way. The girls had no idea that the simple chore would turn their worlds upside down.
When Ma'Lyiah and Bailey's great aunt, Amanda Beals, arrived at the pond, she was confused—everyone was frantic.
In January 2022, two of their dogs managed to break from their leashes and ran wildly across a frozen pond in Charleston, Illinois.
THE FREAK ACCIDENT
Ma'Lyiah tried to chase after them and assumed the pond was solid enough to support her. Sadly, it wasn't. The youngster fell through the ice and into the freezing water, leaving her sister traumatized.
Bailey ran to get help, and when her grandfather, Carlos Serafin, heard what had happened, he acted quickly. Grabbing his slippers, he made his way to the scene of the incident and jumped into the water.
THEY WERE UNDER THE WATER
When Ma'Lyiah and Bailey's great aunt, Amanda Beals, arrived at the pond, she was confused. Everyone was frantic, and Beals's brother Bill Croy, who was there, told her he couldn't reach them. She shared:
"And I said, 'Who, Ma'Lyiah?' I said, 'Where's [Serafin]?' And [Bill] said, 'He's in the pond.' I said, '[Serafin] is in the pond?' And he said, 'Yeah, I couldn't get to him.'"
Beals realized that Serafin had jumped into the pond to save Ma'Lyiah. With both of them still under the water, she knew their chances of survival grew slimmer with every passing second.
IN CRITICAL CONDITION
The Lincoln Fire Dive Team arrived and pulled both victims from the pond. Serafin and Ma'Lyiah were unconscious, and the team knew it was crucial to get their hearts beating again.
A local hospital managed to revive Ma'Lyiah's heart, but she was still in critical condition. The emergency team worked relentlessly to save Serafin, but sadly they couldn't bring him back to life. Beals said:
"The local hospital worked for a long time on [Serafin] and tried everything possible, but unfortunately, he was under the ice for too long and was not able to be revived."
HE WAS THEIR HERO
The family was heartbroken, but they were immensely proud of him. "[Serafin] died a hero. That's just who he [was]. He would do anything for his girls, he would do anything for his dogs, he would do anything for anybody," Beals added.
The family was shocked by the incident and needed time to mourn their loss. Beals also started a GoFunMe page to help with funeral arrangements for the brave man.
A LONG ROAD AHEAD OF THEM
Ma'Lyiah had a long road of recovery ahead of her, and her family didn't have life insurance. Beals hoped the funding page would alleviate some of the pressure. She said:
"My brother needs one less thing to worry about right now. Every penny counts and is greatly appreciated."
The ordeal affected Ma'Lyiah's brain activity, and she needed extensive rehabilitation and therapy. Thankfully citizens were helpful and managed to raise over $40,000 by July 2022.
THE YOUNGSTER'S PROGRESS
On the funding page, Beals posted regular updates, and six months after the accident, she revealed that Ma'Lyiah was finally back home. She wrote:
"Ma’Liyah was finally able to come home on July 1. She is adjusting to new routines and working on her therapies. Please continue the love for her. She does still have seizures, and her ataxia is still very strong."
A MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION AND HOPE
Without her grandfather's bravery, Ma'Lyiah most likely wouldn't have survived the ordeal. They would never forget him or his actions and hoped his story would inspire others.
The youngster is slowly regaining her strength, and the joy on her face is infectious. In a post about her progress, Beals also noted that her feisty attitude and charisma were returning.
They were grateful for her recovery and thankful to the public for their support and love. Beals shared:
"Remember when you think things are too tough to get through, that it could always be worse. We are so thankful for her accomplishments she continues to show every week."
Questions To Ponder:
When Serafin realized that his granddaughter needed help, he didn't think twice before rushing to help her. Perhaps he should have contacted emergency services instead of jumping into the water, but there was no way of knowing how things would unfold. He did what he deemed best in the situation and will be remembered as a brave man.
Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes the bravest among us are simply the ones willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Risking your life is something many people say they would do, but few follow through when dangerous situations unfold. Whether or not Serafin chose the best course of action, his selflessness is what makes him a true hero.
Click here for another story about a heroic grandfather. He visited his family, unaware of the ordeal that awaited them. Thankfully, he was there when they needed him most, and he didn't hesitate to save them.
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