Maple Ridge woman honoured for saving boys between her cancer treatments

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Maple Ridge woman honoured for saving boys between her cancer treatments

Last July, Lelania Chapman took her son on a rare outing for a hike along Cliff Falls in Maple Ridge B.C.

The outing was rare because Chapman was weak from radiation treatments she had undergone for breast cancer. The day ended with Chapman hailed as a hero, mustering the strength to save four boys who were trapped on the edge of a cliff.

On Saturday, Chapman was among 13 people honoured for bravery by the Lifesaving Society at a reception at Vancouver's Fairmont Hotel. 

She said the day of the rescue was the first time in three months she had left the house.

"That morning, I actually wanted to cut up a watermelon and put in our backpacks, and I couldn't even lift the watermelon, so we brought bananas," Chapman said.

"Where I got the strength, I have no idea."

When Chapman was hiking with her son Guindin, 9, and three of his friends, she heard cries for help.

Hauled boys to safety

Four boys were trapped on a cliff. She tried to telephone for help but there was no service. Chapman was about to return to her vehicle to telephone from there, when one of the boys yelled: "Can you get my mom?"

Chapman decided to rescue the boys herself. She climbed a fence, lowered herself down a rockface with a rope, waded through the water and hauled the boys to safety with a rope.

On Saturday, her three sons were among those in the audience to watch her receive the award.

"They got to hear the lifesaving association say that I was brave," Chapman said.

"As a mom, for my sons to hear that, it was very humbling,"

Chapman's battle with cancer continues.

"I'm doing good. I'm fighting the battle and we are winning," she said.

"Canadian women: we fight cancer and we save boys."

With files from Tina Lovgreen