Vinny was 2.5 years old when, after dinner he was changed into a clean diaper, walked away from us, his parents (who thought he was playing next to them), and walked right into the pool.
The same pool that he had been swimming in the past hour using a puddle jumper.
The same pool that still had children playing in it.
He loved the water.
The puddle jumper made him believe he could swim, even though he could not.
Vinny was pulled from the pool and was given CPR. The ambulance came, he was taken to the ER, and after about an hour of trying to be revived, the doctors called his death. It was at this moment, they allowed us to come touch him. We pleaded they continue working on him. We sang to him, ran our fingers through his hair, and like the miracle that he is, his heart miraculously started beating on its own.
We were transferred to a nationally ranked children's hospital where we were treated with the utmost respect and highest-level care.
Two days later, on March 25, 2022, our Vinny was declared brain dead.
In retrospect, we believe Vinny enabled his heart to start beating so that he could become an organ donor, and so that we could come to terms that his soul was already in heaven.
Vinny donated his heart, liver and kidneys to organ transplant recipients and his lungs to research.
He will forever be our hero.
It was in the hospital where we learned that Drowning is the #1 cause of death in children ages 1-4.
It was in the hospital where we learned about Infant Self Rescue lessons that teach children as young as 6 months old to roll to the surface of the water to breathe air while awaiting help.
We were shocked to learn how prevalent drowning is, but yet, we hadn't known it.
Vinny is giving us the motivation to raise awareness around the #1 killer in children ages 1-4 as well as challenge everyone to think differently about water, in hopes that we can save other kids-- in hopes that not one other set of parents sit in a hospital room like we did, not knowing this life saving information.