By David Raleigh
A young woman has been hailed a "hero" after keeping a 12-year old boy alive after his heart stopped working.
Speaking today, the boy's father broke down in tears as he praised the young woman for saving his son's life.
Quick-thinking Amanda Begley, 20, from Carew Park, Limerick, dashed to the boy's aid after he collapsed face down in a field outside her home on Sunday night.
Ms Begley, who trained in first aid last year, turned the boy on his back, dialled 999 and gave paramedics her location before she then performed CPR on the boy for about 20 minutes until an ambulance crew arrived.
Glen Carey, 12, underwent heart surgery in Crumlin Children's Hospital, Dublin at 1am this morning. His family are praying he will make a full recovery.
It is believed his heart stopped at least four times, but he was dramatically brought back to life by Ms Begley and later by paramedics. His heart stopped a further two times in hospital, his father said.
Glen's father, Mike, became emotional as he thanked Ms Begley for keeping his son alive until he was taken to hospital by paramedics.
"She saved his life. He's still in a very serious condition. He's still in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). He passed away twice up here and they revived him, they brought him back. They bypassed his heart and he's on the life-support machine," Mr Carey said.
"They are going to switch the heart back on tomorrow. They performed keyhole surgery on his heart at one o'clock this morning. So far it is a success, and we won't know more until tomorrow."
"Only for that young girl being there he wouldn't have made it so far. I owe a lot to her. She's fantastic. She is a hero. Glen is still here," he added.
Yesterday, the boy was rushed from University Hospital, Limerick, to the children's hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, for life-saving heart surgery.
Ms Begley said today she had "lit a candle" for the boy hoping he will make a full recovery.
"It all happened so fast. I was sitting in my garden and he just passed by and he hit the ground, he was face down. So, I ran over to him straight away. I put him on his back and his phone was ringing so I took it out and it was his mother ringing, so I answered it and told her to come straight away. Then I just started CPR ," she explained.
"When I know that (Glen) is fully alright, that's when I'll be alright. After every few minutes he was gasping for breath. It was frightening. I lit a candle for him last night."
Glen's sister, Helena, said: "Amanda Bentley saved my brother's life. He's not fully awake but he's getting there. Amanda is a life-saver. She's a hero alright."