Arizona drowning deaths twice the national average

Arizona drowning deaths two times the national average

PHOENIX - In Arizona, twice as many children drown compared to the national average.

Most of those deaths happen between June and Labor Day.

Outside Phoenix Children’s Hospital, 738 ribbons were tied to trees to represent the teens and children who have died from drowning since 2000. 

There are also 14 pairs of shoes to represent the children who have died this year.

The event at the hospital kicked off Drowning Impact Awareness Month, which takes place in August. 

In the summer of 1993, Emily Eoff, almost 2 years old at the time, nearly became a victim of drowning.

“I was found by my sister, who was swimming at the time. My mom pulled me out and performed CPR,” she said.

A firefighter also showed up and performed CPR, and Eoff was later flown to UC Davis Medical Center, where she made a full recovery.

Thirteen years later, she says she has a second chance at life. She’s studying at Midwestern University in Glendale to be a physician’s assistant.

Eoff now raises awareness about water and child safety. Her past helping to shape the future, she looks back at the men and women who helped saved her.

“My message to them is: Thank you,” she said. “I know as someone who has experienced working in medicine that no matter how hard you try, there are a lot of lives that we can’t save. That is something that makes me more passionate about drowning. Because while we haven't found a cure for cancer, there is a cure for drowning and that's prevention.”

At the end of her speech, the firefighter who helped save her in 1993, Mark Marshall, surprised her by showing up.  

The two went outside and tied a ribbon on a tree – a ribbon that could have represented Eoff, but didn’t. 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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