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Longmont child honored for helping to save mom’s life

Responders were able to quickly treat mother’s life threatening injuries thanks to 9-year-old’s call

The calm and quick actions of a Longmont 9-year-old saved her mother’s life earlier this summer, and she was recognized by the community on Friday.

Bella Johnson had gone over to her neighbor’s house to see if they could help her mom jump start their car early in the morning of June 30.

In their garage, the car had started rolling away from Brittiny Johnson, Bella’s mom, with her 3-year-old son and dog inside. Johnson went to stop the car and ended up underneath it.

Bella came running back with her neighbor and found her mother terribly injured.

“I remember laying on the driveway and just looking at Bella and just telling her to get her brother and get inside and to be safe,” Johnson recalled. “All I could think about was them and just making sure that they were okay.”

Bella’s mom told her to call 911 and that’s what Bella did, staying calm enough to also call her grandfather and get her brother out of the car with the help of some good Samaritans.

Johnson was severely injured; her liver was lacerated, 21 ribs and some vertebrae were broken, her lungs collapsed and there were 157 breaks in the side of her face 

“Literally if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here,” Johnson said. “They told my parents that had it been like five, 10 minutes later … I had seven blood transfusions within the first hour. If she had not called and done what she had done, I would not be here.”

That was June 30, and Johnson woke up at Longs Peak Hospital July 5 where she spent two and a half weeks recovering.

The Longmont Fire Department and Longs Peak Hospital honored Bella for her actions on Friday with a Lifesaving Award.

“We have awards for our people that go above and beyond and do special things with their care,” said Dan Higgins, Longmont fire chief, as he presented the award to Bella. “Every so often we give one of those awards to our citizens as well. And that’s you, Bella.”

Bella said she was stunned to be honored and more than anything, so happy that her mom was alive and well.

“I was so shocked and then I was really happy because it’s nice to know that people actually think I am a hero,” Bella said.

First responders who helped to save Johnson’s life were also at the ceremony to recognize Bella’s quick actions and calm demeanor in the face of such a stressful situation.

“We know that every single minute matters in medical emergencies, and that’s why Bella’s quick thinking and action was so important,” said Stephanie Koenig, vice president of operations at Longs Peak.

When asked if she felt like a hero, the 9-year-old was quick to point to the many first responders in the room.

“No, I feel like everybody else that helped my mom medically, they’re the heroes because they saved my mom’s life,” Bella said.

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

Amy Golden is a reporter for the Longmont Leader covering city and county issues, along with anything else that comes her way.
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