Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Child hero receives well-needed help

Published:Tuesday | August 19, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Toni-Ann Miller (right), who rescued two little boys from a burning house, poses with her caregiver, Judean Cunningham, and the trophy she was given for her bravery. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

The family of 11-year-old Toni-Ann Miller has been moved by an overwhelming show of love and support following a stunning act of bravery that she displayed, having rescued two brothers who were trapped in a burning house last year.

The story, which was published in last Saturday's edition of The Gleaner, highlighted Miller's May 15, 2013 heroics. Then, Miller, with no thought of her personal safety, ran into the house and pulled the two boys to safety after seeing thick, black smoke coming from a house in Mount Hermon, St Catherine. She was on her way from school.

Because of her quick thinking, the older of the two brothers, aged six, escaped unhurt. The younger boy, five, sustained minor burns to one arm.

HUGE HURDLE

Life has not been easy for Miller, however, having explained that severe financial constraints have been a huge hurdle.

Miller, now residing in Old Harbour, St Catherine, is supposed to be sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) next academic year, but her caregiver wonders if the little hero's fate will prove as fortunate as the brothers she saved from certain death.

"Her mother is not really in a position to care for her, so I took it on myself to see if I could assist her and I have been doing nothing but my best," said Judean Cunningham.

"But with two weeks left to the start of the school year, Toni-Ann does not even have a pencil because I don't know where the money is coming from," said the mother of four.

This burden could be alleviated, though, as as several agencies and persons on social media have been expressing interest to lend a helping hand.

"I was so touched by Toni-Ann's story. The level of selflessness that this girl displayed should be a lesson to Jamaicans as we go forward," said one person who commented on The Gleaner's website.

"How brave and unselfish of this young girl Toni Ann. I will be more than willing to help her please send me contacts," another comment read.

"Gleaner please publish a contact or an account number, I would like to donate a $1,000.00 USD to this little girl education," said another reader.

Agencies such as Food For The Poor have also expressed interest, saying that they are in the process of assessing the needs of the child.

Cunningham, in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, expressed gratitude for the number of calls she has been receiving.

"The calls have been coming in so fast. I really was not expecting this. We will be on the road most of this week because people will either be coming to us or we will be going to them because everybody wants to meet her," she said.

"A lady called a few minutes ago saying she will be paying for her uniforms and books and other school expenses, which I am grateful for. We are all happy and overjoyed," she said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com