Emotional moment woman is reunited with elderly mum after losing her during Hurricane Ian
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Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@itsbethbooker
Heartwarming footage captured the emotional moment a woman was reunited with her mum after losing her during Hurricane Ian.
Beth Booker, from Naples in Florida, was left in a panic after struggling to get hold of her mum in the wake of the hurricane, having seen pictures of the 78-year-old's home in Fort Myers Beach submerged in water.
Her mother, Carol McDanel – who is Booker’s paternal grandmother, but adopted Booker after her dad’s death and is now known as ‘Mom’ – had been determined to stay in her house, where she has lived for more than two decades.
In a bid to keep her as safe as possible, in the days before Hurricane Ian made landfall, Booker and her husband helped McDanel get her home ready for the incoming onslaught.
Once the storm hit, Booker received updates from McDanel, who sent photos and videos of the surge starting to fill the home, but later found she was unable to get hold of her.
Storm surge outside of my moms house on Fort Myers Beach.— Beth Booker (@itsbethbooker) September 28, 2022
I’m so sick. pic.twitter.com/12ujJqmacH
Not knowing what to do, Booker took to social media with a desperate plea, explaining: “I have never felt more helpless in my life. I called my mom and it went to voicemail. I’m praying that she put her phone on airplane mode to save battery. So scared. Can’t stop shaking. Please, angels. Get her through this. I can’t believe this is happening.”
I have never felt more helpless in my life. I called my mom and it went to voicemail. I’m praying that she put her phone on airplane mode to save battery. So scared. Can’t stop shaking.— Beth Booker (@itsbethbooker) September 28, 2022
Please, angels. Get her through this.
I can’t believe this is happening.
Her plight soon went viral with the hashtag #GetCaroleHome – something that, incredibly, Booker and her family eventually managed to achieve.
Her husband and friend finally found McDanel sitting on her couch inside her home, where, amazingly, she’d been able to safely remain.
Sharing an update on Twitter, Booker told users: “They found her. They found her. THEY FOUND HER. Mom, I love you. We did it.”
In an accompanying video, she added: "She's OK. They got her, they found her, and they are bringing her to me."
Home.— Beth Booker (@itsbethbooker) September 30, 2022
Not a scratch.
Grateful. #GetCaroleHome, we did it. pic.twitter.com/WJDUX9Ozqu
In a statement to Good Morning America, McDanel said she felt grateful for the ‘overwhelming support’ she and her family had received.
"That positive energy and those prayers were felt by me through one of the most isolating and uncertain moments in my life,” she said.
McDanel acknowledged that she was 'one of the lucky ones', continuing: "I'm still here. My heart is breaking for Fort Myers Beach. A place I've called home for 35 years, a place home to happy times with the love of my life, my husband, who passed away in 2016. I've owned businesses on Fort Myers Beach, in addition to being close to many of those who have now lost their businesses."
She added: "Our little 7-mile island thrives on our tourism and with most of that taken away by Ian, we have such a long road ahead of us. I'm calling for the world to continue the same energy and love that was put toward my rescue into recovery and relief efforts for our community."
Since being reunited with her mum, Booker hasn't stopped sharing resources for those affected by Hurricane Ian, and is actively helping others whose loved ones remain missing.
"We are using this as an opportunity to call for help for our community and our neighbors," she said in a pinned tweet, which directs people to the website for Gracie PR's 'Spread Sunshine' campaign.
"Fort Myers Beach is not only my home, it's an island that survives on tourism. We have a lot of work to do."