Nine-Year-Old Who Sees Cousin Behaving Strangely Learns The Chilling Truth

As the old cliche says, blood is thicker than water. That bond isn’t restricted to your nuclear family, though; even cousins can share a close connection. In Tennessee, that relationship recently proved to be more invaluable than anyone might have imagined.

During what was supposed to be a fun family outing, nine-year-old Timothy Prather noticed his younger cousin was behaving strangely. Once he realized something was wrong, he sprung into action, hoping his desperate move could prevent a family tragedy.

When you’re growing up, there’s nothing like spending a day with family and going on adventures. Unfortunately for nine-year-old Timothy Prather, a simple outing with his cousin almost turned into a nightmare.

WREG

This time, Prater, along with his grandparents and little cousin, Conner, were heading to the local rodeo. A day of bucking broncos, charging bulls, and real-life cowboys was guaranteed to be a blast.

Tennessee Alumnus

And it was! But, during the rodeo, a problem arose: it was time for a snack. Rather than venturing out to the concession stand, the boys decided to indulge in some candy. This proved to be a disastrous move.

F. Carter Smith

Concession workers had some Lifesavers on hand, and Conner couldn’t wait to chow down. Timothy went back to watching the show, but, before long, he noticed something strange was happening nearby.

While Timothy was enjoying the rodeo action, Conner suddenly seemed distracted. In a matter of moments, his entire attitude changed; it was clear that he was no longer enjoying himself.

Fox 10

“He was just crying and stomping his feet and holding his throat,” Timothy explained to WREG. While he wasn’t exactly sure what was happening to his cousin, he knew there was a problem.

First Aid For Life

Seconds later, the boys’ grandparents also noticed what was happening; they realized something was terribly wrong. In a matter of moments, everyone’s attention turned from the bull riding to Conner.

Monster Energy

“Our mam-maw had him upside down and our pap-paw was patting his back,” Timothy remembered. Suddenly, his mind started racing, too. He knew exactly what was happening to his little cousin.

Conner was choking on the Lifesaver! While the boys’ grandparents desperately tried to dislodge the candy from his throat, their efforts didn’t yield any results; time seemed to be running out.

WTVR

Timothy, however, remained calm; against all odds, he was prepared for this exact moment. The nine-year-old approached his little cousin and began methodically working to save his life.

With Conner on the ground, Timothy dropped to his knees next to him. Seemingly without thinking, he moved his hands into position and started applying pressure to his cousin’s abdomen.

VeryWell Health

“I took him, and I started pushing his stomach,” Timothy later explained to WREG. Whether he knew it’s official name or not, the boy performed the Heimlich Maneuver on his choking cousin.

Newsweek

After what seemed like an eternity, the Lifesaver came free. Conner could breathe again! Everyone realized that Timothy had saved his cousin’s life, but one larger, more mysterious question remained unanswered…

Stephanie Amador / The Jackson Sun

Timothy might have been a bright boy, but most 9-year-olds don’t know how to use the Heimlich Maneuver to save someone from choking. Where had he picked up that invaluable piece of knowledge?

Nicky Attar

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Timothy learned about the lifesaving technique at school, albeit not in a conventional lesson. While no one taught him how to handle choking, one teacher still played a crucial role in his essential education.

Rivertowns.net

Nearly 15 years ago, Brandi Wardlow, a kindergarten teacher at Ramer Elementary School hand an idea. She went to every classroom, plus the cafeteria, and hung up one specific poster.

Kingsport Times-News

That poster showed how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver! While she wasn’t sure if anyone would learn anything from her efforts, Wardlow wanted to expose the students to the essential technique.

Waco Tribune-Herald

“We never know when they’re watching, what they’re picking up on,” Wardlow explained to WREG. “To think this little poster here saved his cousin’s life, it’s amazing.”

In this case, everything came together perfectly. Timothy remembered what he had learned, both from the posters and some Youtube videos, and became a hero. The nine-year-old, however, wasn’t too interested in fame.

WATE

 “I just feel happy that he’s alive,” Timothy told WREG. He knew kids his age were capable of incredible things. When lives are on the line, instincts take over. Other families can identify with his quick thinking.

Before their son went to bed in February 2020, Noah Wood’s parents each gave him a kiss on the forehead and wished him sweet dreams. They’d see him in the morning, they said, never thinking there could be an alternative.

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But early the next morning, Noah woke up suddenly in his room, which he shared with Lilly, his 2-year-old sister. A noise hadn’t startled him, but rather an intense odor that was only growing stronger.

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When he began to see the smoke billowing in his room and saw the flames, he knew he needed to act quickly. Even at just 5-years-old, he knew the fire was moving fast. He had to get to safety. But then, he thought of something.

Woods Family

Being a selfless boy, the first thing he did was pick up his baby sister and his dog. His number one concern was protecting them from the danger. Then, he made his way to their bedroom door… and felt intense heat.

Noah realized the flames were blocking the door! The kids couldn’t get to safety that way. Stuck, he started racking his brain for another exit plan as the family home was becoming fully engulfed.

Quickly, he rushed to the far wall, gathered all his strength, and opened the window. He shimmied his sister, his dog, and himself through the small opening. Now safe, he didn’t even take a moment to collect himself. There was still work to do.

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Because other people in the house and on the family’s property had no idea about the fire! A panicked Noah immediately rushed next door and alerted his uncle about the fire. Luckily, the uncle sprung into action.

Propelled by Noah’s quick thinking, the uncle went on to alert all other members of the family, calling out so they would wake up and avoid the flames. Without Noah, they never would’ve been given a chance.

Woods Family

And as the flames continued to lick the sky, Noah’s mother and father finally broke free from the house to find the young boy holding his sister and his dog in his arms. His father could hardly believe what he was seeing.

WSFA 12 News

When firefighters arrived, they were almost speechless. Not only because of the damage on the home but also because of the astounding bravery of a 5-year-old: He showed a skill set on par with even the most veteran firefighters. So, the fire crew started thinking.

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The Bartow County Fire Department knew they needed to do something special to honor Noah. Later on that week, they invited Noah and his family to the firehouse for a very special ceremony.

The entire fire department and Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor showed up to honor Noah Woods and his heroic actions. They presented him with a certificate of bravery and even made him an honorary firefighter.

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Of course, they didn’t have a uniform in his size, so a pair of fireman pajamas acted as a stand-in. With all his family around him, Noah listened as the fire chief said a few words about how incredible his act of bravery really was.

Fox 5 Atlanta

“This boy here is amazing, ” he said. “A lot of adults wouldn’t have acted that calmly and quickly.” Beaming with pride, firefighters also gave Noah a helmet and a badge for his service. At the ceremony, Noah’s father, Allen Wood, couldn’t help but get choked up.

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“He’s always been an outgoing kid,” he said about Noah. “I am just proud to be his Dad.” Unbelievably, there were a couple more surprises for Noah before he left the firehouse that day.

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“I proclaim today, Valentines Day, Feb 14, 2020, as Noah Woods Day in Bartow County,” Commissioner Taylor revealed at the ceremony. In Bartow County, they are going to be celebrating a lot more than just love on February 14th.

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Of course, no trip to the firehouse is complete without a ride in the fire truck. Once Noah’s ceremony was over, he rode out stylishly in the front seat of a Bartow County fire truck. Chances are he could be driving it one day.

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Noah Woods saved his entire family from harm before he even entered the first grade. He knew kids could make a difference. Stories about kids his age pulling off incredible feats were on the news all the time.

Little Vista, California, resident and kindergarten student Katelynn Hardee is a curious one. She pays close attention to her surroundings, and one day, she heard something disheartening that really struck a cord with her.

Deborah Sullivan Brennan

The Breeze Hill Elementary School student overheard a mother frantically venting about having a hard time paying for her child’s after school program. While other children may have forgotten about said adult conversation, it piqued Katelynn’s interest.

@BHCoyotes / Twitter

“She started asking me a lot of questions and I just tried to explain to her that sometimes people aren’t as fortunate and that we need to try to be kind and give when we can,” Katelynn’s mother, Karina Hardee, said. The youngster couldn’t let it go.

Fox News

“I just tried to explain to her that sometimes people aren’t as fortunate as we are, and that we need to try to be kind and give when we can,” Karina continued. This had the tiny humanitarian thinking, as she wanted to help any way she could.

In December of 2019, Katelynn decided to set up the most adorable hot cocoa stand you’ll ever see in your life, all in hopes of raising some money for less fortunate families in her community.

Karina Hardee

Specifically, Katelynn hoped that other students could “have a snack and lunch. If they don’t, their tummies grumble.” Even though Katelynn couldn’t fully grasp the seriousness of the situation, she knew her peers deserved to have happy tummies.

Fox 5 San Diego

Aside from hot chocolate, the stand also sold cider and cookies. There’s no way you’d be able to walk past the cuteness (as well as the treats) without spending a dollar or two. It turns out that plenty of people couldn’t resist supporting Katelynn’s stand.

Kiki’s Kindness Project

According to Jamie Phillips, director of child nutrition services for Vista Unified School District, Katelyn’s stand raised approximately $80, which was enough to to pay off lunch debts for a whopping 123 Breeze Hill students.

@BHCoyotes / Twitter

“Everybody is just so proud and happy and other students are already talking about ways they can also make a difference. It goes to show that even one small, kind act from a five-year-old can mean the difference for someone in their life.” relayed Principal Lori Higley. But Katelynn wasn’t done just yet!

The kindergarten sweetheart wished to continue her philanthropic journey to help families in need, this time moving on to raise money for the “thousands of negative accounts” at schools in the Vista Unified School District.

Vista Unified School District

She called her new ambitious mission #KikisKindnessProject. To raise enough money to pay off all negative accounts in the district, Katelynn, the other students, and staff members who volunteered to help needed to make a little over $7,700. It was admittedly a steep goal.

KUSI News

“We are fortunate to live in California, but in other states, some children are shamed and/or given a different lunch,” Karina modestly told People. Katelynn and her mom kept on laboring over that hot cocoa stand, just trusting their efforts.

Bill Green / Frederick News-Post

At a particular fundraiser, which took place at a trampoline park, Katelyn raised $636 for Breeze Hill programs that were in danger of being ripped from the lives of elementary youngsters due to budget cuts. These after-school programs mean a lot to kiddos, not to mention their parents.

Dave Zapotosky / The Blade

Ever since the birth of Kiki’s Kindness Project, Katelynn and her mom have been expanding on its direction, while keeping charity at the project’s core. Soon enough, they hosted an event called Cases for Love.

Fox Business Video

Cases for Love urged people to donate unwanted suitcases and bags for San Diego’s foster kids, who are often forced to move from home to home. Though living out of a suitcase is no fun, Katelynn and Karina wanted to ensure that they at least owned one.

The charity drive was uber-successful, as the duo collected 44 backpacks, 10 suitcases, three large duffle bags, 10 large rolling backpacks, and several other smaller bags. Coincidentally, the day of the event happened to be Random Act of Kindness Day!

Kiki’s Kindness Project / Facebook

According to Kiki’s Kindness Project Facebook page, Katelynn assisted with delivering the boatload of bags to Palomar Family YMCA, and YMCA Youth & Family Services (YFS). These organizations were grateful for the hefty number of donations, especially coming from the hands of a kind, mature five-year-old.

Kiki’s Kindness Project / Facebook

Katelynn’s parents were inspired by their little girl’s genuinely generous personality. “My husband and I were so proud of her. She’s sparked a little fire even into me to try and help,” Karina told 103.7 KSON. She’s just so selfless.

Karina Hardee

Unbelievably, the Kiki’s Kindness Project Facebook page slowly gained traction, earning a total of $17,308 from 74 different donors as of February of 2020. Little Katelyn proved to be a humanitarian trailblazer, and we can hardly wait to see what else she’ll achieve as she grows up.

Karina Hardee

“With everything that’s going on in the world, we just need a little bit more kindness out there,” said Karina. She’s not wrong, and more times than not, said kindness comes from the hearts of children, especially when they’ve experienced misfortune themselves. Just like Katelyn Hardee, little Addie Bryan was a gift.

Kiki’s Kindness Project / Facebook

Jeff and Julie Bryan had a flood of happiness rush at them on the day their daughter Addie was born. That unbridled joy that day didn’t last long, however. Addie almost didn’t make it.

The moment they laid eyes on Addie, the Bryans saw something was wrong. Their baby had hip dysplasia, a club foot, and two knees that bent backwards. With a rare case of Larsen syndrome, the doctors doubted she’d ever walk.

Just days old, Addie underwent her first surgery. Dozens and dozens more followed over the next few years, with the Bryans estimating that their daughter went through 70 casts throughout her early childhood.

Fox News

The Bryans placed their full faith in the staff of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, located near their home in Dallas. Over the years, it built a sterling reputation for treating orthopedic conditions, particularly in children.

After years of medical intervention, there still wasn’t assurance that Addy would be able to lead a normal childhood. But amid all the darkness, the Bryans still clung tightly to a glimmer of hope — one member especially.

By the time she reached seven years old, Addy didn’t see herself as any different from other kids. She made the best of everything, despite her situation. Soon, her results began to impress everyone around her.

Though her legs still retained a slightly bent shape, Addie’s range of movement grew by leaps and bounds. Before long, she started to spend more time zipping around on her scooter than cooped up in the hospital.

USA Today

And that wasn’t all. She could even run! Everyone understood that she had come an incredibly long way from her troubled infancy. There was no doubt about Addie’s good fortune, but something started to nag at her.

Julie Bryan

With her eighth birthday approaching, Addie knew she was incredibly lucky. Thanks to the folks at Scottish Rite Hospital, she could run, walk, and jump wherever she wanted. Addie only hoped every other kid could do the same.

One morning, Julie Bryan found her daughter tallying up her meager life’s savings. Addie shocked her by saying that she wasn’t just doing this for fun. She was looking to make a donation.

Addie wanted to make a real difference for the Scottish Rite Hospital in the form of a donation. Her mom suggested she open a lemonade stand with a couple friends to raise more money, but ultimately, that tactic only raised $60.

Parents Magazine

So, knowing she needed to get more aggressive, she grabbed a marker and some poster board and drew up a sign requesting donations for the hospital. Then, she ran out to her street corner in hopes of collecting a fortune.

Despite the sweltering Texas heat, Addie had an easy time standing on the corner once she saw the contributions roll in. Neighbors and complete strangers alike seemed happy to help out even if it was with just a few dollars.

After a couple months, Addie had built up a nice pile of money. Still, she was really looking to make a big fundraising leap in the final weeks before her birthday. Addie thought she could expand her operations beyond the street corner.

ABC News

Addie and her parents reached out to a local restaurant called the Cotton Patch Cafe. They agreed to hold a charity event, and Addie went all out! Channeling her inner Pat Sajak, she set up a wheel of prizes to pack the house.

By the time her eighth birthday rolled around, Addie raised a whopping $19,500 for the hospital. For an institution that relied so much on charitable donations, this was huge. Not even Addie’s parents could believe she singlehandedly raised such a sum.

Her efforts gained a lot of attention. A number of outlets shared her story, from her local news station to People magazine! A live TV interview was a good birthday present, to be sure, but Addie was about to get a better one.

FOX 4 News

Stephanie Brigger, the hospital’s Vice President of Development, called the Bryans to share some big news: an anonymous donor felt so touched by Addie’s story that he decided to share a contribution of his own.

WFAA

The Good Samaritan sent Scottish Rite an additional $50,000 in Addie’s name. That meant this eight year old’s donation totaled just under 70k! Most people couldn’t believe it, but this was exactly what Addie wanted.

She said she was glad to give so many other kids a shot at a happy life, as her gift could provide countless casts and prosthetics. Addie Bryan didn’t need anything else for her birthday. She proved that the best gift is giving back.

We tend to underestimate just how big a difference young people can make. But especially in the age of social media, they can truly change lives. When 18-year-old Tyrel Wolfe received an unusual friend request on Facebook one afternoon, he wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Ty Wolfe / Facebook

The request was from a young Filipino woman named Joana Marchan, and Tyrel was certain that they’d never met, let alone even been in the same country. Believing it to be just another scam, Tyrel declined the invitation.

Several years passed, and the strange friend request became a distant memory. He wasn’t much for Facebook anymore, but while casually checking his profile one day he noticed a new request in his inbox. The sender? Joana Marchan.

Tyrel’s interest was piqued, but his parents, wary of the type of people you find online, were understandably worried about this interest in their son. Still, Tyrel couldn’t resist getting to the bottom of this mystery. He opened the request and clicked “Confirm.”

Tyrel messaged the young woman, whose response only made things even more unclear: “you know about the Samaritan’s purse?” Tyrel was dumbfounded. What could this possibly mean? Was it some sort of code? Then, all at once, it hit him.

Samaritan’s Purse was a non-profit through which a seven-year-old Tyrel had donated a shoebox full of gifts as part of a charity program called Operation Christmas Child. But why, 11 years later, was this stranger from the Philippines contacting him about Christmas presents? And, most importantly, how did she know about his donation?

Then, Joana came clean: it was she that had received Tyrel’s shoebox all those years ago! Tyrel was blown away by the news, but even so, he was still skeptical of the young woman’s motivations. After all, how was he to know if “Joana” was really who she said she was? He needed proof.

Faithit

Tyrel questioned Joana about the contents of his gift, but she was unable to recall anything specific about the shoebox. He was ready to write her off, but at the last minute, Joana brought up one key item that proved she was telling the truth.

In the original shoebox, Tyrel had included a picture of himself at the time of the donation. Joana recalled the photo in perfect detail, describing his “cute cowboy” outfit and the “wooden background” of the image. Without a doubt, Joana was exactly who she said she was — and the story of she and Tyrel was only just beginning.

Ty Wolfe / Facebook

Though most would go their separate ways after a one-off encounter like this, Tyrel and Joana stayed in touch and soon discovered they shared many of the same interests. Eventually, the pair was talking every day, and their Facebook chats soon blossomed into a fully-fledged friendship.

Over the next year and a half, Tyrel began saving up in the hope of visiting Joana after he graduated high school. As soon as he’d met his goal, he messaged Joana and immediately booked the next flight to the Philippines.

Business Traveler

Long plane rides are rough on everyone, but being that Tyrel had never left the country alone before, the 14-hour trip from Idaho to the Philippines was especially tough. But no matter how difficult the journey, it was all worth it for Tyrel when he arrived to find Joana and her family waiting at the airport to welcome him.

What was meant to be a short visit for Tyrel became a month-long stay as he and Joana discovered that their connection was deeper and more real than they could’ve ever imagined. It was clear that the Facebook friends were becoming something much more.

Ty Wolfe / Facebook

Unfortunately, Tyrel had to say goodbye to Joana, but he knew in his heart that he couldn’t stay away for long. Putting in extra hours of part-time work between his college classes, Tyrel scrounged up enough money to make another trip back to the Philippines.

His second trip to see Joana was even better than the first, and it wasn’t long before the two had fallen in love. After learning a good amount of Tagalog – the native language of the Philippines – Tyrel approached Joana’s father to ask for one very important thing: his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Joana’s father agreed in a heartbeat, but her mother, fearing the couple was moving fast, was hesitant to give her blessing. Tyrel was heartbroken, but the young man was unwilling to leave the Philippines without the woman he loved by his side.

In a last-ditch effort, Tyrel convinced his father to fly in from Idaho to meet Joana and hopefully ease the tensions between him and her family. After several weeks of discussions, Tyrel and his father finally persuaded Joana’s mother to agree to the proposal.

In October of 2014, just five months after their engagement, the couple wed in a simple ceremony at Tyrel’s parents’ ranch. In lieu of wedding gifts, the newlyweds made an unusual request that brought their unconventional love story full circle.

Tyrel Wolfe / Facebook

Tyrel and Joana asked that each guest bring a shoebox of gifts to be donated to none other than Samaritan’s Purse! They also asked their guests to include a note about Tyrel and Joana’s story in each box to show how one small act of kindness can completely change someone’s life.

San Ynez Valley Star

After their wedding, Joana agreed to leave her home in the Philippines behind in favor of small-town life with Tyrel in Idaho. Their quiet country home was soon filled with the pitter patter of tiny feet, as not long after Joana gave birth to their first child, a baby boy named Harlann Jun Wolfe.

Marvin Quemado / Facebook

Even with lives made busy by work and parenting, Tyrel and Joana still make it a tradition to deliver shoe boxes every year. It might not seem like much, but as the unlikely couple can attest to: you never know what kind of good can come from a shoe box.

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