May 5 was a day of celebration that easily could have turned into a tragedy for a family in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Nine-year-old Lexie Comeau-Drisdelle was excited to celebrate her birthday with friends and family when her 1-year-old brother, Leeland, escaped unnoticed and headed toward the family’s pool.
Lexie has cerebral palsy, a physical disability that leaves her unable to walk or talk. But perched from her wheelchair, Lexie’s watchful eyes are always on her baby brother.
Lexie noticed when Leeland headed to the pool. She watched him plop into the water and instantly knew his very life was in danger.
Kelly Jackson, Lexie’s mother, recalled the moment she heard Lexie belt out a scream unlike she’d ever heard before. “All of the sudden, I’m upstairs and I hear her screaming bloody murder,” Jackson said.
Lexie’s grandmother, Nancy Comeau-Drisdelle, ran to investigate Lexie’s screams. Lexie was pointing toward the door, desperately trying to indicate that Leeland was in the water.
“I took off outside, and I’m not seeing him,” Comeau-Drisdelle told CTV Atlantic. “I ran, and he’s right by the edge (of the pool) and I took him out.”
Lexie saved Leeland’s life. The boy coughed up some water but was otherwise unscathed. He was transported to a nearby hospital as a precaution.
Jackson is filled with pride and gratitude for her precious daughter, Lexie.
“At that moment, it was so scary,” Jackson said. “We thought it was not going to end well, we hugged him a million times.”
“In two seconds a life can change and we are just thankful that Lexie was so quick to alert us.”
— Office of the Mayor (@MikeSavageHFX) July 4, 2018
Lexie was honored as a hero by the Halifax Regional Council and the city’s police department. She flashed a huge grin while showing off her plaque commemorating her courageous actions.
“Heroes come in all sizes,” Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said on Twitter. “It was a real pleasure to recognize young Lexie for alerting her mom when her toddler brother made a dash for the pool.”
Lexie’s proud grandmother said Lexie is proof that anyone can be a hero. “You don’t need to be able to walk and talk and have all your senses,” Comeau-Drisdelle told CTV Atlantic.
“You can still make yourself heard, and you can still help,” she continued. “And yes, she did save his life.”
— Heather Butts (@HeatherButtsCTV) July 3, 2018
Jackson is using her family’s frightening situation as a way to advocate for people with disabilities. Just because someone is nonverbal, Jackson pointed out, doesn’t mean the person doesn’t understand what’s happening.
“Some people think that because they have a disability, they are not able to do things,” Jackson said. “But if she could walk, she would have grabbed him and he would have never gone out there.”
“Her disability is all physical,” Jackson said. “She is a very bright girl.”
Jackson knows that without Lexie’s intervention, life could look a lot different right now. “I still thank her every day because, honestly, in that matter, two seconds makes a huge difference,” she said.