New mom Shelby Carter was asleep with her newborn baby girl when she suddenly awoke to find her home on fire. With her Illinois building engulfed in flames, investigators say she only had mere minutes to respond.
And Shelby ended up using that short amount of time to make the most heartbreaking, yet heroic response of her entire life.
Investigators say that she made the decision to strap her 12-day-old baby to a car seat and toss her out of her second-story window--a decision that saved the infant's life. Unfortunately, Shelby was killed by the carbon monoxide from smoke inhalation, as revealed by an autopsy after rescuers discovered her body.
"It's just incredible that she was able to pull her thoughts together to save her baby," said Ed Foglesonger, chief of the Wyoming-Speer Fire Protection District. "It's just too bad she couldn't save herself; but I'd say it's nothing short of a miracle the way it ended up."
The baby, named Keana, was later released from a hospital with a clean bill of health. Though she is safely at home with other family members, her relatives are all still grappling with the aftermath of this tragedy.
So a GoFundMe page has been set up in response by community members to raise money for the family to help them get back on their feet and also to set funds aside for little Keana as she grows up.
"They have lost everything and need our help," the page reads.
Amazingly, the page has already received more than $21,000 in donations. As of now, they stand just short of the ultimate goal of $22,500.
It's not so surprising, though, when you consider how widely appreciated Shelby's amazing (and life-saving) parenting was in the community.
"She was a strong girl and if she had a task she would get it done, even if it meant sacrificing herself," her friend Anna Steelman said. "She's a hero and we're all very proud of her."