Foreglen mum Jacinta Dunne knew her daughter was brave when she called ‘999’ and saved her life, but it wasn’t until she heard the dramatic recording of the phone call to emergency services she realised the magnitude of the nine-year-old’s courage.
Jacinta - a diabetic - was at home with her daughter, Kayleigh and son, five-month-old Ruairi. two weeks ago when she lost consciousness. As the ’Journal’ first reported, Kayleigh rang ‘999’ for help, while taking care of her baby brother.
On Thursday, Kayleigh’s bravery was rewarded by the PSNI and the Ambulance Service at a celebratory party in Dungiven, where the ‘999’ call was played to Jacinta and Kayleigh for the first time.
“It was very emotional, heartbreaking to be honest,” Jacinta told the ‘Journal’. “It was hearing the fear in her voice that brought tears to my eyes. She did brilliantly and gave all the information and stayed calm. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
As for cool-headed Kayleigh, she says hearing the call was “a wee bit embarrassing because everyone was listening and looking at me!”
Reluctantly agreeing what she did was brave, modest Kayleigh acknowledged she saved her mum’s life.
In recognition of her bravery, Kayleigh was awarded certificates from the PSNI and the NI Ambulance Service, which will hang proudly in the hall of her home.
As for the party, which 12 of her friends enjoyed, the young St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s PS, Foreglen, student said: “It was one of the the best days ever. Thank you to everyone. It was really good fun.”
Limavady PSNI Inspector Jenny Hudson congratulated Kayleigh on Thursday for her “outstanding bravery”.
“It was emotional,” she said of hearing the 999 call. “As a mother myself I felt choked that a young girl could do this. She has no idea yet of how her actions diverted some serious repercussions. Her calmness on the call was tremendous and her family are justifiably very proud of her. It was great to be involved in recognising her for her actions.”
Limavady mayor Cathal McLaughlin congratulated Kayleigh, describing her as a shining example to others.
“Kayleigh is a very brave, very courageous little girl, and we can all be inspired by her actions,” he added.
Jacinta urged all parents and guardians to educate their children about what to do in an emergency.
“It’s not just if you’re sick because you never know when you might need it. Kayleigh remembered what I had told her from when she was five, so I would encourage parents to teach their children about it from an early age. They will remember.”
(See photos of the ceremony on Page 10)