Mother looking to thank ‘guardian angel’ who helped save son at Elora Gorge

Joanne Beckett and her eight-year-old son Zak.
Joanne Beckett and her eight-year-old son Zak. Joanne Beckett / Facebook

A woman from Barrie is looking to thank the “guardian angel” medic who helped save her young son’s life after he was badly injured after falling at the Elora Gorge last weekend.

On June 30, Joanne Beckett was enjoying a walk at the gorge with her boyfriend and two young children when her eight-year-old son Zak fell and hit his head on a rock.

READ MORE: Man airlifted after falling into Elora Gorge, charged with trespassing

“I heard him scream ‘Mom, my head!'” Beckett said. “I will never forget that scream as long as I live. He was only a couple of feet ahead of me.”

Beckett said she had turned for just a moment to help Zak’s sister down the last step at the gorge when she heard him. “That just shows you what can happen in a matter of seconds,” she said.

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When she turned around, she saw Zak crawling towards her, with his scalp split right down the centre, exposing his skull.

“It was the worst sight a mother could see,” Beckett said. At first, due to the overwhelming amount of blood, she thought he had lost his eye.

Beckett reached down to pick Zak up and carried him up the 60 steps. Another hiker called an ambulance while they made their way to the top of the gorge.

That is when Beckett says their guardian angel appeared.

Beckett says some visitors to the gorge who had been rappelling that day heard Zak’s scream, which prompted a woman to bring a military medic to the top of the stairs.

She says the medic quickly assessed Zak before calmly and skillfully applying a bandage to his head. Beckett says he sat on the grass with Zak laid against his chest, speaking reassuringly to him until paramedics arrived. Remarkably, Zak remained calm throughout the entire incident.

When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics marveled at the amazing job the medic had done. “They said if he hadn’t done what he did it could have ended differently for Zak,” Beckett said.

Beckett said it wasn’t until they were on the way to the hospital when she realized she didn’t ask the medic his name.

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“I guess I was in shock,” Beckett said. “I just didn’t think to ask him.”

READ MORE: Unintentional falls send 1,800 Canadians to hospital every day, report shows

Doctors at the hospital treated the 24 cm wound on Zak’s head, which stretched from the front of his forehead to the back. The cut took 25 staples to close.

Luckily, testing at the hospital determined there were no fractures to Zak’s skull, and he tested negative for a concussion.

While this isn’t the way an eight-year-old boy would like to start his summer break, Beckett says Zak is doing well and is recovering at home.

Now, Beckett is looking to thank the man who helped save her son’s life.

Beckett took to Facebook, telling the story in a lengthy post in the hopes that it would be shared wide enough to reach their hero.

“I can never express how grateful our family is to him,” the post reads. “My children are my greatest treasure in life, I can’t imagine my life without any of them. The medic not only saved my son, but a little brother, a grandson, a nephew and a friend. We can never repay him.”

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“I’m sharing this in hopes of finding him so we can thank him and tell him Zak is ok. Please share and help us find him.”

Beckett says she knows very little about the medic, just that he was from Toronto, was stationed in Alberta and had possibly trained last week at Canadian Forces Base Borden, just outside Barrie.

Beckett’s post has now been shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook, but she has received no indication that the medic has seen it.

Beckett says she never intended the post to go viral — she simply wanted to thank the medic for saving her son.

“I appreciate if he doesn’t want publicity or attention, I just want to say thank you and tell him Zak’s okay,” she said.