This Hero Tween Who Drowned Saving Her Little Sister Will Break Your Heart

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takara murphyEvery once in a while a story comes along that breaks my heart while simultaneously reviving my faith in humanity, and this is one of them. Takara McDuffy, a Staten Island 11-year-old was put to rest last night. She drown saving her 9-year-old sister off of Coney Island. When I read the dates sewn into the satin lining of her coffin, I couldn’t help but cry: 2003-2014, the exact same amount of time my own tween-age daughter has been on this earth.

According to The Daily News, Takara and her sister were spotted struggling to swim in the surf off Stillwell Ave. in Brooklyn, New York. Both sisters were eventually pulled to shore, but unfortunately Takara died within minutes of arriving at Coney Island Hospital. From family friend Avery Wilder:

“I couldn’t even imagine the casket being so little,” said family friend Avery Wilder, 45. “I’m just sad. I got three kids of my own.”

Though it was good Samaritans who actually pulled the girls out of the water, Takara went into the surf initially to rescue her sister from a rip current, only to get trapped herself. Family friends say that she was a bright, funny child who will be greatly missed. Now excuse me while I go cry my eyes out.

When I was not much older than Takara I got caught up in a rip tide. It’s a terrifying feeling, and one that is often deadly when you don’t know how to react (and sometimes when you do). I can’t imagine the pain Takara’s poor mother is going through, and I imagine that the younger sister will have some serious survivor’s guilt as she recovers and gets older. I hope her mom takes at least a bit of comfort in knowing that her child died a hero.

*Edited to change Takara’s last name from Murphy to McDuffy. The original Daily News piece includes both names, sorry for the confusion.*

(Photo: Facebook)