A Strong Little Boy

Chicago, Illinois, is next to a big, beautiful lake, Lake Michigan. In the summer Lake 'Michigan is warm and blue. People lie on the beaches and swim in the water. In the winter Lake Michigan is cold and gray. Snow covers the beaches, and ice covers the water.

On a cold January day, a little boy and his father were playing in the snow on a Chicago beach. The boy was Jimmy Tontlewicz. He was four years old.

Jimmy was playing with a sled. He pushed the sled down a small hill. The sled went onto the ice of Lake Michigan. Jimmy ran after the sled. He ran onto the ice. Suddenly the ice broke, and Jimmy fell into the cold water.

Jimmy's father jumped into the water. He couldn't find Jimmy. Minutes went by. He still couldn't find Jimmy. "My kid is dead! My kid is dead!" he screamed.

Men from the Chicago Fire Department arrived. Twenty minutes later they found Jimmy and pulled him out of the water. Jimmy was not breathing, and his heart was not beating. He was dead.

At the beach paramedics worked on Jimmy for one hour. He began to breathe, and his heart began to beat again. The paramedics rushed Jimmy to the hospital.

Doctors at the hospital put Jimmy in bed. They put him on a cold mattress because they wanted his body to warm up slowly. They gave him some medicine because they wanted him to sleep.

After eight days in the hospital, Jimmy woke up, but he couldn't walk or talk. He stayed in the hospital for six weeks. Every day he got better. Then he went to another hospital. He stayed there for seven weeks. He began to walk, talk, and play again.

Jimmy was in the water for over 20 minutes. He couldn't breathe in the water. He couldn't get any oxygen. But today he is alive and healthy. How is it possible?

Jimmy is alive because the water was ice cold. Usually the brain needs a lot of oxygen. But when it's very cold, the brain slows down. It does not need much oxygen. So the ice cold water saved Jimmy.

Jimmy's father has another reason. He says, "Jimmy is alive today because he is a fighter. He is a strong little boy."

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