Ottawa

Best friends hailed as heroes

Two 11-year-old Ottawa girls are being praised for helping save a man's life on the weekend.

11-year-old girls ran for help after finding unconscious man in Barrhaven park

Best friends Juliet Murphy, left, and Darcy Power, right, at Furness Park in Barrhaven. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Two Ottawa girls are being praised for helping save a man's life on the weekend.

On Saturday, 11-year-old friends Juliet Murphy and Darcy Power were enjoying the fine autumn weather at Furness Park in Barrhaven when they noticed a man slumped between the sidewalk and the road.

I was just afraid he was going to die on us.- Darcy Power, 11

"I took a closer look and it didn't look like he was faking," Power said. "His stomach was not going up and down — that means he wasn't breathing."

The girls knew they needed to find help, and quickly. While Power stayed with the unconscious man, Murphy ran to nearby homes and began ringing doorbells, but no one answered.

"I was just afraid he was going to die on us," Power said.

The girls receive a package from Marc-Antoine Deschamps of the Ottawa Paramedic Service in recognition of their bravery. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Ran for help

The girls finally found some men fixing a car and told them the situation. They didn't believe the girls at first, Murphy said.

"They said, 'Is this a joke?' And we said, 'No, call 911.'"

The men performed CPR on the unconscious man until paramedics arrived and used a defibrillator to restart his heart. The man, who paramedics say is in his 60s, was rushed to hospital in critical condition. 

Watch two 11-year-old friends describe how they saved a man's life

CBC News Ottawa

2 years ago
1:03
Juliet Murphy and Darcy Power from Barrhaven say they ran from house to house looking for help after they found a man who had collapsed near Furness Park. The man survived and is currently in hospital.  1:03

Paramedics credited the girls' fast action with beginning what they call a "chain of survival," the first essential steps that can save the life of a patient in medical distress. But they didn't get the girls' names at the time, so they launched a public appeal to find them.

"What these two young ladies did is quite amazing," said Ottawa paramedics spokesperson Marc-Antoine Deschamps. "They jumped into action to try to save a complete stranger, and they didn't give up until that mission was accomplished." 

The girls have been best friends since birth and even share the same birthday. (CBC)

'We were brave'

"We were brave," Murphy allowed. "We panicked a bit at the beginning, but we said panicking doesn't bring us anywhere. It won't help the man."

Murphy and Power are the kind of best friends who finish each other's sentences, and even share the same birthday. Now they share something else: the knowledge that they helped save a person's life, a man they said they'd like to meet one day.

"I don't really want to be called heroes until we know that he's OK," Power said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sandra Abma

Journalist

Sandra Abma is a veteran CBC arts journalist. If you have an event or idea you want to share, please do at sandra.abma@cbc.ca.

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