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LEWISTON, N.Y. – A teen girl who was killed in a sledding accident in upstate New York on Saturday died while trying to save her 3-year-old cousin from crashing into a tree, her mother said.

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Renee Hill, 16, a sophomore at Niagara Wheatfield High School, died after hitting her head against a tree, her mother, Alexis Kraft, told The Buffalo News. But her actions saved the life of her 3-year-old cousin, Ryder Kraft, the newspaper reported.

Hill was riding on a sledding tube with her cousin at Lewiston’s Clyde L. Burmaster Park, WKBW reported. Hill rotated the sledding tube she was riding in with her cousin and absorbed the full brunt of the crash, Alexis Kraft told the News.

“The doctors told us her heart stopped 5 to 10 minutes away from the hospital,” Alexis Kraft told the newspaper. “That’s when they started to do CPR on her. They got her into the hospital, and they worked on her for 45 more minutes, but she was already gone.”

Ryder Kraft suffered a fracture near his collarbone, Alexis Kraft said.

“She had went down the hill. She had my 3-year-old nephew on with her,” Alexis Kraft told WKBW. “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.”

Theresa Hill, a Virginia resident, posted a GoFundMe page to pay Hill’s funeral expenses. As of Tuesday night, more than $28,000 had been raised.

“My daughter was very loved. She was loved by so many people, and we didn’t realize that until this happened,” Kraft told the News. “She was the light of our lives. Her smile was infectious.”