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Boy, 10, saves his mom

August 20, 2000

Boy, 10, saves his mom



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

photo: RYAN ANSON / staff photographer

Joshua and Tammy YounkerTammy Younker got up from her couch July 31 and told her 10-year-old son, Joshua, she was heading to the bathroom.

On her way back to the living room, Younker opened the bathroom door and fell to the floor. She lay there unconscious in front of Joshua, who had been talking on the phone to his grandmother, Mary Younker.

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"Nana, Momma just passed out," Joshua told his grandmother, she said.

Hearing his voice cracking, she told him to be strong while he got help for his mother.

"You could hear in his voice that he was going to start crying," Mary Younker said. "And I told him, Joshua, you're the man of the house now."

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Joshua hung up the phone and draped a wet rag across his mother's forehead, hoping to wake her up. He then called his Aunt Caroleen Hetherly and told her to come help his mother at their Hamilton Boulevard home.

Then he called 911.

"I was scared," said Joshua, a fifth grader at Potomac Heights Elementary School. "I saw that my momma was laying on the floor. I called 911 and gave my momma a cold rag and threw water on her face."

Joshua saved her life, his mother said. She found out at Washington County Hospital that she had a brain tumor that was putting pressure on her brain and cutting off oxygen.

"He's my little trooper," Tammy Younker said. "I'm so proud of him."

Younker said she had been feeling ill for two weeks before the incident but thought she had a sinus infection.

She had brain surgery at the hospital and continues to receive treatment from a radiologist. She's still waiting to hear whether the tumor is cancerous.

Sunday afternoon, Younker, her family and friends held a surprise party for Joshua at Pangborn Park in Hagerstown.

"I had to do something for him to show how proud I am of him," she said. "He's still scared to be home with momma."

At the park Joshua played with his family and friends until he was called to the picnic table for the celebration. Believing the party was for his cousin, the bashful, soft-spoken Joshua smiled and hugged his mother after his father, Ray, unveiled a cake bearing a picture of Joshua on it.

Ray Younker had been at work when his wife passed out.

"This is in honor of you for helping mommy out," Younker told his son. "You're our little hero, buddy. You did a good job. We're all here for you."

Joshua's grandmother said that after Tammy Younker had been taken to the hospital, Joshua gathered up a pile of dirty laundry and did the wash.

"He told me he did it to help me out," his mother said.

Hetherly, Joshua's aunt, said he and his mother are very close and Hetherly credits him for not freezing up.

"I was scared because I didn't know what I was going to find when I got there," she said. "And for a 10-year-old to see his mother like that, most 10-year-olds would have panicked."

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