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Woman saves disabled man's life as she rescues him from freezing blizzard

Woman saves disabled man's life as she rescues him from freezing blizzard

Sha’Kyra Aughtry, from Buffalo, New York, helped Joe White after seeing him struggling outside in the snow by her home

A woman has been praised after saving a disabled man’s life when he found himself stranded and severely frostbitten in a deadly blizzard.

Sha’Kyra Aughtry, from Buffalo, New York, heard a man screaming for the help outside her home at around 6.30am on Christmas Eve.

It was a 64-year-old man called Joey White, who was suffering from severe frostbite on his hands.

After Aughtry’s boyfriend Trent carried him inside their home, she ended up having to care for the stranger, making sure he was warm and fed while also attempting to tend to his hands, which started to turn gangrenous.

She cut off White’s socks, which were frozen to his legs, and tried to thaw his frozen trousers using a hairdryer.

Aughtry took White in and helped him.

Aughtry also contacted his sister Yvonne and staff at the North Park Theatre where he has been employed as a janitor since 1980.

But it soon became clear that White needed medical attention that she could not offer, and she took to Facebook in desperation on Christmas Day to ask if anyone had the means to transport him to hospital while roads remained unusable in the heavy snow.

Sha'Kyra Rain Aughtry.
Facebook/Sha'Kyra Rain Aughtry

The area has been battered by a freezing storm, with officials in Erie County, which includes Buffalo, saying in a press release yesterday (Tuesday 27 December) that 28 people have died so far.

“I have a 64-year-old special needs man with frostbite on both of his hands and has turn into Gangrene we have had him since yesterday at 6:37am we brought him into our home PLEASE GET HIM SO HELP,” Aughtry said.

“He is scared, I am scared, his life is in my hands, it’s nothing else I can do HELP I have called 911!!!!! WE NEED HELP.”

White had severe frostbite.
Facebook/Yvonne White


She also explained that she had had to cut a ring off his finger, pointing out that she was ‘not no surgeon’.

Finally, a group of good Samaritans made it to Aughtry’s in a vehicle that could get White to hospital through the snow.

White’s sister Yvonne has since shared various updates on Facebook, confirming he was in hospital being treated for fourth-degree frostbite.

“Scared, slept a bit, nurse said it will be a slow process, hoping for the best,” she wrote.

“Thank you everyone.”

In earlier posts, she also described Aughtry as an ‘angel’ for helping her brother, having shared a number of photos that showed the extent of White’s painful frostbite.

White’s colleague and friend Chris Dearing set up a GoFundMe not just for him, but also for Aughtry – whose ‘generous spirit and fierce determination’ he said helped save his life.

Joe White.

“Joe is mentally disabled, and he did not understand the true severity of the storm,” Dearing explained on White’s fundraiser.

“Disoriented and crying out for help, he miraculously found himself at the doorstep of Sha'Kyra Rain Aughtry - a total stranger - who put her Christmas plans aside and tended to his wounds the best she could.”

Aughtry’s fundraiser has also far surpassed its $20,000 goal, with a current total of more than $70,000 in support.

“Around noon on Christmas Eve, Sha'Kyra called to let me know she opened her home early that morning to Joe White, my friend and North Park employee of ~40 years, after he appeared in a daze outside her door, crying out for help,” Dearing wrote in the description.

“His hands were brutally frostbitten, and emergency vehicles had no way of reaching her location. Without hesitation, she put aside her family's plans for Christmas and treated his sores as best she could.

“As the storm wound down, she rallied the support of strangers online, and she found a way to get Joe to ECMC.

“Without her generous spirit and fierce determination to get Joe help, my friend would be dead.”

Dearing said Aughtry ‘did all of this without any thought of reward, but she deserves one, and so does her family’, adding how she was a ‘hard-working young mother’.

“I want to show her at least a fraction of the support she gave my friend Joe,” he added.

Featured Image Credit: Sha'Kyra Aughtry/Facebook

Topics: US News, Weather