TOWN OF LEWISTON, N.Y. — The parents of a New York teenager say their daughter died while saving her 3-year-old cousin during a sledding accident.
Alexis Kraft and Richard Hill says their lives changed forever when their daughter, Renee Hill, was born on Dec. 10, 2004.
“She was our whole world,” Kraft said.
Renee was a 16-year-old sophomore at Niagara Wheatfield High School and the oldest of four children.
“She was a mama bear for sure. She could get them in line really quick but she was loving and they all loved her,” Kraft said.
“Everyone loved her,” Hill said.
Her parents say Renee loved lacrosse. Her coach, Joe Kiszka, said she was quiet, but intimidating, and a strong silent leader. He said on the field, Renee was feared, but off the field, she was an absolute sweetheart.
“We would love to go watch her play lacrosse because she really was amazing. All the parents and all the other girls on the team would call her the beast because once she got on the field, she would just go hard,” Kraft said.
But Renee’s life came to a sudden tragic end Saturday morning when she went sledding with her cousins at Clyde L. Burmaster Park in the Town of Lewiston.
“She had went down the hill. She had my 3-year-old nephew on with her. She saw the tree coming. Her first instinct was to put her foot down and flip the sled so my nephew wouldn't get hurt. She hit the tree. Her heart stopped on the way to the hospital,” Kraft said.
Her parents said Renee died saving her 3-year-old cousin.
"Everyone's calling her a hero. But that was my baby," Kraft said.
Renee's parents thank the community for their support during such a difficult time.
"Don't take one minute for granted with your babies. Tell them you love them. Every minute. Every chance you get," Kraft said.
There is a GoFundMe set up to help the family.
This story was originally published by Olivia Proia at WKBW.