An Appleton woman has been reunited with the boy she helped save 11 years ago, while putting her own life at risk. 

Johnathan Bixby was seven when Donna Stacey and two men — Dwight Jones and Roy Cuff — saved his life near the beach in Musgrave Harbour. 

The Red Cross presented lifesaving awards on Tuesday night to Stacey, Jones and Cuff. Cuff died six years ago and received his award posthumously. Jones is working in Alberta and could not attend. 

Stacey recalled playing with her two young daughters when she saw Bixby being washed out to sea in a small rubber raft. 

"I went back to Mom and Dad and I said, 'if I don't come back, will you tell the girls I love them,' " Stacey said. 

Stacey and Jones, who was then a teenager, went out in a paddle boat after Bixby. But when they caught up to him, the wind and waves continued to wash them out to sea. 

They had been on the water for an hour when Cuff, who had been called to help, arrived in his speedboat and rescued all of them. 

Now 18 and a high school graduate, Bixby was obviously moved by meeting Stacey for the first time since the near-tragedy.  

"I love them for that, and I thank them a lot. Thank you so much," said Bixby, who sat and held hands with Stacey during the ceremony.