She watched in horror as a little boy drowned in the waves. She noticed a woman screaming from the beach below the Joe’s Crab Shack location in Daytona Beach, Florida. Nineteen-year-old waitress Hanna Pignato could not believe it. Although the woman screamed as if someone was being murdered, no one – NO ONE – stepped up to help her save her boy who was drowning in the waves just off the shore.
Hanna, who happens to be an expert swimmer, knew that if no one else was going to do anything, she had to try to save the boy’s life. She could see that the boy was caught in a powerful riptide and knew from her experience that if she couldn’t get to him quickly, he would be pulled out to sea and drowned.
Without hesitation, Hanna proved that she had a heroic heart. She removed her shoes, stripped off her waitress uniform, and then dove off the restaurant pier toward the water. But instead of splashing into the waves, Hanna smashed onto the sandbar below. Now there was a little boy drowning out in the water and a nineteen-year-old with a broken back writhing in pain on the sandbar. Instead of helping the boy, she created another problem for the rescue team to deal with.
The bones in Hanna’s back and her right foot shattered when she crashed onto the sandbar.
However, Hanna refused to become a victim. Despite having a broken back, she continued toward the dying boy. She went out into the water and relied on her expert swimming skills to take her closer and closer to the boy who kept getting pulled out to sea. Despite all the pain and suffering going through her body, she continued going and going and going. Eventually, she reached the drowning boy and grabbed him. The next thing she knew, Hanna was back on the beach with the boy reunited with his mother.
But that’s when Hanna started to scream. The pain in her back shot through her and left her crippled. It was devastating and extreme.
Because Hanna works for a tourist restaurant, they don’t offer her health insurance. That means she will be out of work for two months on bedrest as a massive medical bill continue to accrue interest. Although she risked her safety and health to save the life of an innocent boy, the health care system punished her for taking the risk – strapping her with a massive bill was the last thing she needed after jumping from the pier to swim out to save the little boy stuck in the Florida riptide.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover her medical expenses and living expenses while she has to be out of work. The family has asked for $75,000 to help cover the massive bill and, so far only about $50,000 has been raised to help her. The rescue occurred on April 13, 2019, and now her fundraising campaign is trending. People, some who don’t even know her, are giving generously to help the young woman recover.
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