February 13, 2023 | Samuel Ira

People Who Had Someone Sacrifice Their Life For Them Share What Happened

Some die for another out of love. Some do it in a quick decision without thinking much. Some, like organ donors, save the lives of strangers out of pure kindness. If someone has sacrificed their life for you, there is no doubt you will never forget it. After all, you get to live the rest of your life, and they do not. These touching and often heartbreaking stories may leave you in tears, or at the very least, with a newfound faith in humanity. After all, perhaps it is the ultimate form of humanity, giving up your own life for someone else's.

38-1541095823409.jpgNorthwestern Mutual

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#35 The Ultimate Form Of Chivalry

My brother was killed on 11/15/2015 in Eugene, Oregon while on a weekend getaway. He and his wife had just finished breakfast and were walking to their car to go back to the place they were staying.

As they were crossing the road, a man in a truck who had just beat his parents with a baseball bat (killing the father and permanently injuring his mother) decided to drive into my brother and his wife at full speed. According to the police reconstruction and witnesses, my brother put his body in front of his wife's and took the brunt of the impact. He was killed instantly, and my brother's body slammed into his wife breaking nearly all her bones on the left side of her body. She lived.

A truly amazing man, brother, friend, son, stepfather, and husband.


#34 A Sad End To A Sweet Friendship

I was in Afghanistan in 2011, working in Humanitarian Assistance/Human Terrain Analysis. I was working in the southern part of a city in the southeast of the country, working in various villages/communities over the course of a few weeks. I have middle eastern/southwest-Asian features, so the Afghans took a liking to me. I got to know one village community particularly well, to the point that one of the younger boys would always walk with me holding my hand (a sign of friendship in their culture). We'd talk about life in America, what his life was like in his Afghanistan, what he wanted to be when he grew up, basic stuff, nothing serious. I left that community to work in other parts of the region for a little while with the intention of coming back for one more visit before I went back to HQ to write reports. So I go back for that one visit to find the community cold to me, which is very unusual in Pashtunwali (Pashtuns is the ethnicity of the people in the area, Pashtunwali is like their ethnic "code of conduct"). As we're leaving the area, we found the body of the kid that was hanging out with me. He was executed by gunshot and left to rot in a ditch. He didn't die for me in the sense that he sacrificed himself for my sake. Rather, he died for being my friend. The people of that community refused to speak to any NATO forces after that.

2-1541087137016.jpgThe Globe and Mail

#33 The Most Dedicated Principal Of All Time

Not me personally, but it did affect me. For those who live in the US, you may have heard about this, as it made national news. I used to work at an elementary school and one day during dismissal time, one of the parked school busses suddenly jumped the curb toward a group of children. The principal was not too far behind them and pushed them out of the way just in time before the bus hit her and killed her instantly.

I was there when it happened. That was the bravest and most selfless thing I have ever seen anyone do and proved her character in how passionate she was with working with children.

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#32 Family First

Rwandan Genocide survivor here. I lost my dad during the Rwandan Genocide when I was four years old. He died protecting my sister, my mother, and me. The genocide was basically between two tribes, Hutus and Tutsis. My parents were each from different tribes. To make a long story short, both tribes were willing to take all of us in, but the non-verbal agreement was that the parent that wasn't from the appropriate tribe would be dealt with. Not wanting my mom to die, my dad chose to bring us to her tribe's side of the conflict, thus sealing his own death in the process. He was taken to some woods somewhere and he had his head chopped off. What always gets to me is my mom telling me how he silently cried as he was taken away.


#31 Her Name Was Jennifer Lee

When I was seven years old, my mother and I got into a car accident. I was asleep in the front seat wearing no seat belt. She saw the oncoming car approaching and threw herself on top of me, saving me from flying through the windshield but killing her instantly. I think about her every day, and I want to live to tell her legacy. Her name was Jennifer Lee.


#30 A Grandfather's Sacrifice

My grandfather at the time was 94 years old. My four-year-old daughter got the flu, which she then gave to me. I was home sick with my daughter and I couldn’t even take care of myself let alone my daughter. My grandfather took care of both of us. I remember waking up to him covering me with a blanket like when I was a child. He ended up getting the flu from us and his respiratory system couldn’t take it. He passed because he took care of me and my daughter, and it makes me cry every time I remember that.

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#29 Walking On Thin Ice

It was winter time when I was 10; my father and I were walking across the ice covering the canal across from his house, I believe we were going for lunch. Before I realized what was going on, the ice broke from under us, and after some time of struggling to stay afloat, someone had finally noticed us in the water, encircled with ice. The guy threw an extension cord out to us, my dad told me to grab hold of it, and he pushed hard on me to get me up on the ice so the guy could pull me to shore. As he pushed up on me, I looked back to see his face disappear under the water. That was the last time I ever saw him.

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#28 Brotherly Love

My brother died for me 13 years ago. We were alone at a beach in Mexico (no lifeguards) while our dad was taking care of some business. The water had been rough the day before, but my brother wanted to take a swim, so we went in anyways. We were messing around in the water with one of those disposable underwater cameras; we got distracted and didn't realize how far we'd been pulled out. Suddenly, we realized we were in a rip current and how big the waves around us where. We tried to swim back but couldn't. At this point, I'm panicking, yelling for help, and telling my brother I don't want to die. He says I won't, stays with me, and yells for help. Someone at one of the beachside restaurants finally notices us and jumps into the water with a boogie board. They swim up to us and tell us to hang onto the board, my brother and I are holding hands and the board, together. One wave later and we're ripped apart. That was the last time I saw him. I live for him every day. He was and is my best friend.

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#27 An Unlikely Turn Of Events

I was suicidal for a couple of months when I was 21. I guess it had always been there but some things in my life triggered it.

I knew I didn't want to die, but something inside me was telling me it was the right choice and that no one really wanted me in their life. So I started to plan my suicide, without anyone knowing.

Around that time, my sister-in-law got sick and passed away, and suddenly I had two small children to care for. At first, I didn't know what to do. My plans were basically changed super fast. I didn't have time to think on what just happened. But these children changed me. I started to see that yes, I am worth something and needed and nothing makes me cry so much than thinking of dying and leaving these kids with more death in their life.

I don't know if it counts or not, but I was basically saved by these kids and their mom.

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#26 The Kindness Of Strangers

He was a stranger. His death saved me and three others. The circumstance surrounding his death will never be completely known as mistakes were made during his medical care.

At the time of his death, I had already been on an artificial heart for 11 months and was about 2 weeks from death myself. It had been a three-year journey for me and my family. Getting listed for a transplant and then sitting on that list was grueling. I was simply done.

I received his heart on 11/01/14. Although the recovery still goes on, I'm alive and enjoying my life. His name was Tim, and I now know his family.


#25 A Grandmother's Loving Arms

During a strong earthquake, my grandmother used her body to protect a four-year-old girl. A wall collapsed and fell on them. I’m told she broke her hip, an arm and more. She bled to death and passed from a heart attack. When they dug them out, all she kept asking about was the little girl and saying she’s fine. The little girl thankfully survived with a broken arm but couldn’t understand what happened to my grandmother.

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#24 What Would Have Been Quadruplets

Not the typical altruistic life-saving event but I'll go on. I'm an identical triplet. We started out as quadruplets but the fourth little guy took one for the team as he stopped developing sometime during my mother's pregnancy. This allowed the remaining clones to develop healthy and well, utilizing the nutrients that would have been split by four down to three. Pouring one out for you, Max!

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#23 Standing Up For Your Son

I was assaulted when I was nine. My father confronted the man that did it, beat him up. The man came back and shot him in the head. My mother has hated me ever since, so I lost two parents in one day. It has affected me in the sense that I’m hyper-vigilant in protecting my son.


#22 The Ways Of War

My grandmother's brother was in Vietnam. To get him out, my great-grandfather harmed himself so the son could come back for the funeral (he stated this in his suicide letter). While my great uncle was on leave, his entire platoon was killed in action. I don't remember the rest of the circumstances, but my great uncle was alive and at my grandmother's funeral this year so he lived to be an old man.


#21 Anything For Her Sons

My family has struggled financially our whole lives. A single mother and all. My brother and I are both in our thirties. Over the last decade, my mother lost her husband, then her sister, and her brother-in-law to cancer. She just wasn't coping. So she took her own life, leaving a note for my brother and I saying she was proud of the men we had become. And to use her life insurance money to clear our debts and do something big.

That was two years ago.

I'm about to own my own home, which would have been impossible if it weren't for this insurance money. I feel utterly disgusting though when I think of why I have it.

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#20 What Happens In Utero

My mum was pregnant. Not far past the first trimester. She and my dad knew they were having their first son. She fell down a set of stairs, started to bleed and knew she was miscarrying. When she got into the hospital, they did ultrasounds and told her they couldn't operate to remove the baby. There was a second heartbeat, one that was tiny and weak and they'd never known about before.

My brother was a lot bigger than me in utero and no one knew about me until that moment. He was in front of me in the womb and took all the force of the fall. If mum hadn't fallen, I possibly wouldn't be here. But my brother saved my life. It still hurts like nothing I can compare it to know that I'm only here because of him. I still cry for the life he never got. My parents never got a son, but at least they got someone.

I love you Dylan, and I will never forget you. And I'm sorry.

17-1541089487109.jpgSage Behavioral CounselingSage Behavioral Counseling

#19 Bullets Were Flying

I was at a gas station in the middle of a not-so-great neighborhood. I was there with three of my friends, two girls, and one guy. I was seventeen at the time. It was my fault we went in there, all because I wanted a Mountain Dew. Some guy decided to rob the store at gunpoint, but it turned out the man behind the counter had a gun too. Bullets were flying everywhere, and my best friend who I’ll call Jeffrey leaped on top of me. He was hit three times, once in the shoulder, once in the arm, and once in the neck. The last shot killed him almost instantly. Three people died that day. I still feel responsible.

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#18 Joining Opposite Sides Of The World

She didn’t die just for me, but my donor was battling ALS. She passed away after a fall during a family Christmas party surrounded by her family and friends. She chose to donate her lungs, and despite being 21 years older and from the other side of the world, she was an excellent match for me. I went through a very difficult surgery, over 40 units of blood, five months in ICU, but she helped me get through it—I’d like to think the two of us did it together—and I’m here today almost four years later thanks to her.

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#17 A Girl's Best Friend

My dog Daisy saved my life. My mum was the type to throw me outdoors whenever and it was winter, we lived on a lake, and I was 10. I was sledding down this long hill and the metal disc slid underneath me and onto the frozen lake about 10 feet past our dock. I didn't want to get yelled at for leaving it on the lake so I carefully stepped one at a time towards where it was and almost got to where I could grab it. Unfortunately, I was a chubby kid and I fell about six feet into freezing water. My mum was inside with her boyfriend and couldn't hear me screaming. Daisy ran to a neighbor who was thankfully ice fishing and he got me out somehow.

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#16 Young Love Ended Too Soon

About a year or two ago, my girlfriend and I were walking down the street in the middle of summer. Some guy walked up and tried to stab me, but he must have been under the influence of something because he fell over and started screaming at me. He got back up and went again, but kind of like in a movie, my girlfriend pushed me out of the way and took the hit. He got her in the stomach and ran away. I called 911 and tried to stop the bleeding, but I couldn't and she bled out in my arms. I'm extremely depressed and still blame myself to this day.


#15 The Lineage Carries On

My grandfather, who is South Korean, was drafted into the Korean War. His best friend jumped into a grenade that was hurled at my grandfather. My dad had not been born yet.


#14 Saving A Stranger On A Stroll

A couple of years ago, my parents' friend's brother saw a woman being physically assaulted in a local park. He stepped in and tried to fight off the attacker best as he could, but was stabbed and killed.

The killer was finally sentenced. Second-degree murder, an automatic life sentence.


#13 Saving Private Carl

Serving in Iraq, we were on patrol and my convoy was hit by an IED (bomb) that disabled a vehicle on our route and made us stationary. Another explosion rocked our Humvee over on its side. Our gunner was killed instantly and opened the hole. I had recovered from a concussion but blacked out none the less. I came to being dragged away by my Platoon 1LT taking fire.

I lived and he did not.


#12 Altruism In Full

My father was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer and quickly went to the dying stage.

I spent every day in the hospital with him, and on the last day that he was cognizant, he took my hand and said, "I'm dying." I said, "Yes, dad, you are. I know." And he said, "Not fast enough."

The next day was my birthday. He cared so much that he tried to die faster so that it wouldn't happen on my birthday.

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#11 Tragedy At Home

I knocked on my mom’s bedroom door and asked when she’d be ready to go. She told me to go away. Two minutes later my stepfather shot her and then killed himself.

I believe he had a gun pointed at her when she sent me away. The last thing she did before she was murdered was protect me.


#10 Police Are Always On Duty, Even When They're Not

Not my story, but my sister's. About ten years ago, I was talking to my sister on the phone as she was driving down the freeway. She suddenly screamed and then the call ended. I still don't know if she hung up or threw the phone and she doesn't remember.

Someone passed her on the right and then abruptly cut her off just as a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction crossed the median and hit the car in front of my sister head-on.

Whether or not it was intentional we don't know because the driver died right away... but she was an off-duty state police detective.


#9 Saved In The Dallas Shooting

I'm pretty sure one of the officers who was killed in the Dallas shooting in July of 2016 directed my wife and me away from the gunfire before he was killed a few minutes later.

I remember his face. He looked concerned but not afraid. He took notice that I had my hand on my own holstered firearm as we were checking a corner.

He said to use it to protect my wife but to get out of there.

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#8 Extreme Pet Loyalty

I was three and playing on the porch while the family dog chilled near me. We lived in the middle of nowhere in the south and had no neighbors close. My mom and older brothers were inside. Two other dogs showed up and immediately started running towards me, clearly not to just play. The family dog, a pit bull mix, immediately got between me and the other dogs before I even registered what was happening, and started barking loudly to alert everyone inside. The other dogs attacked him before my mom could get to us and she grabbed me and ran inside while my brothers chased away the dogs. It was too late, though. Our dog had taken some injuries and passed away on the porch.

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#7 Keeping The Namesake Alive

My uncle died. And it was kind of because of me.

My mom was pregnant with me and about three months before I was born, my uncle's cancer got much worse. They needed something that my mother could donate. Only hers was fitting, but my both grandmothers said that it was too risky while she was pregnant. So she refused to donate. Not long after, he passed away. I got his name. I am proud to carry it even though I never meet him.


#5 A Father's Heartbreaking Last Words

I was 22 with a one-year-old son and struggling financially. My father, who was dealing with acute pancreatitis—and recently diagnosed cancer which I later found out—signed his land and home over to my son and I just a few months before passing. His last voicemail to me stated that he would do anything he could to help me make it without any financial burden. It was the night he shot himself.


#4 Hope For Humanity In The Kindness Of Strangers

My dad grew up on a large farm in the middle of nowhere. They rarely ever saw other people unless they went into town. On a cold winter day when my dad was about four or five he slipped out of the house without my grandma knowing. He went exploring and ended up falling into the frigid creek. My grandpa had recently put an ad in the paper trying to sell a horse. At nearly the exact moment my dad fell in the water, an older gentleman drove up to the property to inquire about the horse. He saw my dad in the water and jumped in and pulled him out. My dad ended up being fine, but the man who jumped in ended up in the hospital and died of pneumonia shortly after. This happened almost 60 years ago and my dad still talks often about this stranger who sacrificed his life for him.


#3 A Split-Second Sacrifice

My step dad's brother was driving a huge cement truck and the brakes went out. He was driving directly towards a house. He flipped the truck into a ditch killing himself and saving the family in the house.

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#2 The Last Summer Drive

My dad and I were driving home from a summer wrestling practice. On our way home, a lady crossed over two lanes of traffic and hit us offset of head-on. The last thing I remember beforehand is my dad yelling out "oh no!" and I felt the car we were in swerve away from the oncoming vehicle. The driver's side of the vehicle took the impact. I ended up with only minor scrapes and bruises and a minor concussion. My dad later passed in the hospital.

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#1 Kids Saving Kids

I had just turned six when this happened, so I saw it differently at the time, not really understanding the reality of it. My nine-year-old cousin and I were on our way to the nearby park when I spotted a huge pile of lumber. I ran over to it without saying a word and began climbing it. My cousin ran after me and started yelling for me to get down. By that time, I had climbed pretty high and was scared to get down. I started crying and froze on the spot. My cousin said to stay there and she would go call for help. As she started running, I moved down and some of the lumber began to roll off. As soon as my cousin heard this, she realized she couldn't leave me and ran back. She started climbing up the pile of lumber and more rolled off. My foot got stuck as I tried to move down slowly, and she told me not to move. She kept slipping down so she tried moving faster until she was at the top with me. She told me to duck into a ball and protect my head, the last thing I remember is her throwing me to the side of the pile. I was unconscious and only came to after some neighbors had taken me to their house and called the police. I remember asking about my cousin and they told me she was at the hospital. After that, I wasn't really told much directly. I just thought she had a long stay in the hospital. In reality, she was in intensive care for less than a week and then she sadly succumbed to her injuries. My parents didn't take me to the funeral but instead had me stay with a family friend while they went. They thought it would be too traumatic for me. Years later, I learned my cousin had been engulfed by the lumber and crushed. I knew she had died, but they told me in a way that made it seem like it wasn't in any way because of me.

36-1541094843733.jpgThe Canadian Encyclopedia



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