A YOUNG woman has been hailed a hero after keeping a 12-year-old boy alive after his heart stopped.
The boy's father broke down in tears as he praised Amanda Begley for saving his son's life.
Quick-thinking Amanda (20), from Carew Park, Limerick, dashed to the boy's aid after he collapsed in a field outside her home on Sunday night.
Amanda, who trained in first aid last year, turned the boy on to his back and dialled 999 before performing CPR for about 20 minutes until an ambulance crew arrived.
Glen Carey (12) underwent heart surgery in Crumlin Children's Hospital at 1am yesterday.
His family are now praying that he will make a full recovery.
It is believed his heart stopped at least four times, but he was revived by Amanda and later by paramedics.
His heart stopped two more times in hospital.
Glen's father, Mike, became emotional as he thanked Amanda for keeping his son alive until he was taken to hospital.
"She saved his life. He's still in a very serious condition. He's still in the ICU," he said.
"He passed away twice up here and they revived him, they brought him back. They by-passed his heart and he's on the life-support machine.
"They performed keyhole surgery on his heart. So far it is a success, but we won't know more until tomorrow. Only for that young girl being there he wouldn't have made it so far. She is a hero. Glen is still here."
Amanda said she had "lit a candle" for Glen in the hope that he will make a full recovery.
"It all happened so fast. I was sitting in my garden and he just passed by and he hit the ground, he was face down," she said.
"I ran over to him straight away. I put him on his back and his phone was ringing so I took it out.
"It was his mother ringing, so I answered it and told her to come straight away. Then I just started CPR.
"When I know that Glen is fully all right, that's when I'll be all right."