Local mom on mission to keep people safe on and in the water

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by JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Jimformanking5

KING5.com

Posted on May 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Updated Sunday, May 13 at 5:21 PM

Deanna White’s precious daughter Paris drowned in their backyard pool. She was only 2.

“It never goes away - unfortunately she is a missing piece - a missing piece of my family,” said White.

It’s the kind of tragedy that can tear a family apart, but in the White's case, it's drawn them closer together.

The Paris White Foundation now works to provide life jackets at public facilities - loaned out for free to those who need them.

“It is important to me because drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 15, and I don't want anyone to suffer the heartbreak and pain - because it doesn't go away,” said White.

King County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Bedker has seen more heartbreak and pain than most. As part of the marine patrol, he knows how quickly a beautiful day on the water can turn deadly.

“We know that people like to get out on the water and we want to make sure that they are aware of what dangers are out there,” he said.

Rivers are running fast and cold. Deputy Bedker says much of the heartbreak he sees can be prevented with one simple step.

“Wearing a life jacket. I have yet to recover a drowning victim on the bottom of a river or a lake that was wearing a life jacket,” he said.

It would be easy for Deanna White to spend this Mothers' Day drowning in pity. Instead, she's fighting to make sure Paris' short life and sudden death mean something with the message life jackets save lives.

“Never get too comfortable because anything can happen in an instant,” she said.
 

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