Casey’s Walk for Drowning Awareness
Saturday, May 14
Life changed in an instant for TC and Matt Bush five years ago, on a day that should have been just as uneventful as the day before. They kissed their 3-year-old son Casey goodbye, left him with a babysitter and went to work.
Hours later they both got a phone call that their son had drowned.
Like most doting parents, the Bushes thought they had done everything right to keep their child safe in the family’s above-ground pool Casey loved to play in.
“We seriously thought we were one of those families that everything was going to be okay,” she says. “We had everything under control. We had him with the little wings on. We had him with his safety vest. He was in the water all the time. We were never around the water without him. We were always right there with him.”
That morning of April 11 Casey’s caregiver brought his own son along so the boys could play together in the backyard. One minute both boys were there and the next Casey was gone. After 20 minutes of searching he was found floating in the pool. CPR was performed and Casey was transported to Vanderbilt Hospital by Life Flight. Nine days later Casey died.
In the years following the accident Bush knew she had to do something to move forward in the face of tragedy. So last fall she created Casey’s Foundation to promote drowning awareness and in April achieved their 501c3 status. Through the foundation they hope to save lives and keep other families from having the same tragedy happen.
“Too many families think that this can’t happen to them,” she says. “As we started to do research on drowning the facts became more and more alarming. There are over 4,000 fatal drownings and 11,000 non-fatal drownings per year. This statistic alone made us wonder why a foundation like this hasn’t already been created in Tennessee.”
Bush states there are plenty of safety classes and programs geared toward lake safety in the area, but there is little awareness about the rules and regulations surrounding residential pools.
“I didn’t even know in the state of Tennessee there was a law that you have to have fencing around in-ground pools,” she says. “Unless they’re brand new pools, people might not know. Some of them are grandfathered in. Our pool was put in in the 80s. I know there’s people moving into houses who don’t know pool alarms exist.”
The walk in Casey’s honor on May 14 – during National Drowning Awareness Month – will be the foundation’s first major fundraiser with the goal to increase water safety in Middle Tennessee, actively working with park districts and families to have water safety procedures in place. The Bushes are also working on presentations for churches, youth groups and daycares and soon hope to donate books to libraries dealing directly with water safety.
Long term goals include first responder CPR classes and even swimming lessons for people of all ages starting as early as 6 months.
“We’d like to help provide first responder water training at apartment complexes and communities that have open pools,” she says. “We’d love for people to contact us so that we can go in and talk to them, especially as it’s now coming into pool season. If we can end up saving one life, just one, that’s one family that won’t go through what we did.”
Saturday, May 14
The walk will be on the White House Greenway with parking at White House High School. Learn more about Casey’s Foundation on Facebook.
Registration: 8 a.m.
Line Up: 8:45 a.m.
Start: 9 a.m.
Closing and giveaways: 10:30 a.m.