As a family, we visited Cannon Beach, Oregon on June 17, 2021. Lily and her brother were playing in the water north of Haystack Rock. Lily wasn't even knee deep when she was caught in a rip current and pulled out to sea.
Lily was fairly comfortable in the water, in pools, but was in no way prepared to fight for her life in the ocean. She was not wearing a life vest. There was no lifeguard on the beach. We had no idea how to identify a rip current nor how to get out of one were you to get caught.
Thankfully, rescuers were able to retrieve Lily's body but her heart had stopped and she was unresponsive. The paramedics were able to get her heart beating and she was airlifted to Seaside Hospital where they were able to get her stabilized enough to fly her to Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, the doctors and nurses were unable to save her.
Lily died early on June 18, 2021. She was 11 years old.
Had there been a lifeguard on duty, Lily would still be here. Had she been wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD), Lily would still be here. Had we known how to identify and escape rip currents, Lily would still be here.
No parent should ever have to lose a child to drowning.
No child should have to lose a sibling to drowning.
Lily left behind her mother, father, and 7 siblings. We miss our Lily every day.
Drowning is Preventable
Lily's drowning and subsequent death were the hardest hours of my entire life.
There was so much we didn't know about being safe in and around the ocean. As I have talked to others in Portland I have learned that we are not alone in our lack of knowledge; many people have no idea how to be safe in the ocean/open water. Drowning is preventable. With education, we could end all accidental drownings.
I educate others about how to be safe in and around open water.
Not One More Drowning