Casey’s Story began January 6, 2008. He came into this world as a blessing to his parents who had already had two small angels make their way into Heaven before them. With a head full of fiery red hair and the sweetest smile that had ever been seen, he was a joy to everyone who met him. Everyone always said that he was “cute as a bug” which turned into “Casey Bug” or “Buggy” as we called him. As he grew it was soon that he was able to get into a small baby pool that was placed next to the family’s larger pool. Year after year his hair grew into his world famous curls and his blue eyes were so creative. He made fun in life out of the simple things: making a town out of boxes, building blocks up just so he could knock them over and oh how he loved music, playing it and dancing to it. He was a bundle of life that overflowed to anyone he was with.
As he grew older his love of the water became even greater. He would get in and float with Mommy and Daddy and splash to his heart’s content. We thought we were doing things right. He was never let near the water without an adult with him.
One day while Matthew and I were both at work I got a phone call that said “Go Home NOW!” It was Matthew and he had a quiver and a tone in his voice that I had never heard from him before. I kept asking him “Why?” Finally, I heard the words that shook me to the core “Casey drowned!” My heart sank. I kept thinking that this was some kind of cruel joke. It couldn’t be “Our Casey.”
But it was. Casey had been at the house playing with a friend’s child and got out of site from the Parent in charge. Matthew raced to get me at work. I will never forget him having to go to my truck because we would need a car seat to bring Casey back home. We knew that he was breathing on his own, but we also knew that it was bad. It was April 12, 2011 and the pool water had yet to be cleaned and it was still very cold. We got to the hospital and found that he was unresponsive and his body was consistently having seizures. Seeing him in the emergency room was something that I will never forget. I just wanted to take him in my arms and make him all better. I kept talking to him and letting him know that Mommy and Daddy were right there and he didn’t have to be scared.
For nine days we lived at the hospital. One moment was good news, he had responded to something, only to learn that it was just his body reacting and not his mind making him do it. We had rules in the hospital: Speak so he can hear you, No negativity allowed in the room and No Tears! We never gave up hope. The purple in the logo comes from the purple color that told us he was taking a breath on his own.
As we gathered with the doctors for the final time we knew that Casey would never come home with us again. We chose members of “Team Casey”: grandparents, Matt & I and a few special friends. We all gathered for one last time in his room and the nurse placed him in my arms. I sang to him and told a story. Matthew told him that it was “ok” and that we would be ok. With that our precious gift was gone.
After 4 years of wondering what we could do to use turn our sadness into something that would help to make sure that other families would never have to feel our pain, the 501c3 Non-Profit for Drowning Prevention, Casey’s Foundation was born.