The story of Colin Holst is about the loss of a precious child’s life due to drowning. It is a story that is hard to read, but the message is compelling and an important one for everyone to hear.
A photograph of Colin Holst graces the home page of the Colin’s Hope website. Colin, having gotten his medal on the last day of his swim lessons, had let his father take a picture of him. In the photograph, Colin can be seen sporting his blue swim goggles and a beaming smile – his outstretched arms seemingly telling the world, “Wow! Just look at what I can do now!”
This happy moment that was captured so beautifully makes me smile, but my smile is tinged with sadness. I have read Colin’s story.
As Colin’s story begins, the reader is introduced to some of the many ways that this precious child embraced his four years of life. He tackled everything with enthusiasm and energy, making friends along the way, and experiencing a “Best Day Ever” on a regular basis.
The very next day after Colin’s photograph was taken, tragedy struck for Colin and the Holst family. Colin drowned in the shallow end of a pool, with family and friends all nearby and yet unaware of what was occurring. Efforts to revive him at the pool were unsuccessful, and Colin died at the hospital the next day, having never opened his eyes again after his swim.
Colin’s Hope was founded
Colin’s family members were shocked and amazed to learn that drowning is the number one cause of death for children under the age of 4! They founded Colin’s Hope to promote water safety in their community and to educate children, parents and lifeguards on drowning prevention. Through their hope, and Colin’s hope, they are finding light in the darkness.
Three stories of young lives lost and of legacies of hope
Virginia Graeme Baker
A story that is featured on the “Pool Safely” website is about the loss of a very young life, Virginia Graime Baker, who lost her life at the age of seven because of suction entrapment due to a faulty drain cover. The ” Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act)” was inspired by and took its name from this child.
In June, 2002, Graeme became stuck to a hot tub drain and was unable to pull herself free. Efforts by her mother to pull Graeme from the drain proved unsuccessful. Two men who eventually freed Graeme from the spa pulled so hard that the drain cover broke from the force. Graeme died from drowning, but the real cause of her death was suction entrapment due to a faulty drain cover.
Abigail Rose Taylor
The life of another precious child, Abigail Rose Taylor , ended on March 20, 2008. Abbey lost her life because of the traumatic injury that she received in a kiddie pool at a golf club in Minnesota. Abbey had been disemboweled by the suction from an uncovered pool drain. Unbelievably, her small intestine had been ripped from her body.
After Abbey’s death the Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation was launched.
Colin lost his life due to drowning in the shallow end of a pool, with family and friends nearby who didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. “Little Man,” or “Buddy,” as he was known to his family, was only four years old. Drowning can occur so much more quickly than most people realize, as the loss of Colin’s life has demonstrated.
The families of Colin, Graeme and Abbey have become actively involved in child safety efforts in hopes that other families will learn from the tragedies that occurred in each of these instances.
Information is maintained on the Pool Safely website by the Consumer Protection and Safety Commission as a means of providing learning tools for families; the CPSC has a desire to help everyone pool safely. Adopt critical water safety steps to assure that a great afternoon at the pool doesn’t turn into a tragic one. Whether at a residential or public pool or spa, everyone can always take additional steps to be safe while having fun.
Although Colin Holst will assuredly be greatly missed by his family and friends, as will Graeme and Abbey, his light will shine on through Colin’s Hope.
Additional child safety articles by R.C. Johnson:
Pool Safety for Homes, Community Facilities and Spas
Abigail Taylor’s Legacy Lives on Through Abbey’s Hope Foundation
Parents: Keeping Babies Safe Website; “Safe Sleep for Babies” Video