Tim Darche is grateful to be alive after being carried away from his family by the currents of the Illinois River when he was a young child.

“When I was six years old, my family went to the Illinois River,” said Darche, a sophomore Accounting major. “The current was very strong that day. 

“I can’t remember most of it, but I got separated from my family because I wasn’t a strong enough swimmer,” he said. “The lifejacket that I was wearing was too big for me and caused me to slip through. Then, I went under the water.” 

Darche’s parents realized something was wrong when they didn’t see their son in the water.

“According to my brother, everyone on the boat was panicking,” said Darche. “My mom was terrified and started swimming out to me immediately. My dad got everyone on the boat, to try to bring the boat around again to pick us up. My grandparents were trying to signal to other boats that we were in the water.” 

As Darche’s mom found him in the water, he said that she risked her life to save him. 

“When my mom got to me, she pulled me out of the water and put herself under the water to keep me afloat,” he said. 

When Darche’s mom saw a nearby boat coming close to her and her son, she quickly came up with an idea to let the other boats know they were there. 

“My mom used a pool noodle to signal to other boats that we were there,” said Darche. “Without my mom’s fast thinking, we definitely could’ve been hit by a passing boat.”

When Darche was rescued, there was finally some relief. 

“When I got back on the boat, I don’t know if I was in shock, but I remember being so cold,” he said. “My family was around me, trying to warm me up by burying me in towels and trying to calm me down as best they could.”

Darche and his family still go to the Illinois River, but he said they are more cautious. It was an experience Darche will not forget.

“I’m very thankful for having people that care enough about me, to put their lives in danger to save mine,” he said.