Marta Iwanek/Toronto Star/Getty
July 27, 2015 05:00 PM

Back in April 1977, a then 3-year-old Edith “Deedee” Beliwicz came to close to death after she wandered into the water at Cherry Beach in Toronto, Canada.

It was a teenage boy, Terrence Perry, who spotted the little girl floating on the water’s surface. When he saw her blue face and her puffed-up body, Perry jumped into the lake to pull her out. However, as medical crews started to intervene, they separated the young girl from her rescuer. The two didn’t see each other again for 38 years, until last Wednesday, July 22, when they had an emotional reunion over dinner.

“He walked in and we hugged each other and we didn’t let go for a few seconds,” Beliwicz tells the Toronto Star. “It was beautiful.”

For the past few months, Beliwicz has been searching for her rescuer. And thanks to a newly discovered newspaper clipping from the Toronto Star on the day of the accident, she was able to gather enough information to reach out to Perry over social media.

Beliwicz wasn’t alone in her remembrance of that day 38 years prior; Perry told the Star he never stopped thinking about the little girl he rescued, and what happened to her.

“I figured that if she knew and cared enough she would find me,” he told the paper.

Care enough she did: a few weeks ago Beliwicz called Perry and asked if he’d be interested in meeting. Perry, who told the Star that he’s been on “cloud nine” since receiving Beliwicz’s call, obviously accepted her offer.

During their in-person catch-up, the two spent hours with their respective families talking about and looking back on the near-drowning incident. And Beliwicz admitted that being pulled from the water all those years ago forever altered her perspective on life.

“I think I am a nicer person because of it,” she told the Star. “If there is someone in need, I would be there to help.”

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