Photo art by Erika Erickson
(WJBK) - It was a heart-dropping moment for the mother of 2-year-old Samantha. Nearly one year ago during a Fourth of July trip, Carrie Weiler of Ypsilanti says her youngest daughter disappeared from her sight for just two minutes.
Weiler searched the house but found little Samantha in the pool.
"When I got to the backyard my mom had just gotten her out of the pool," she said. "And started CPR on her immediately."
Frantically calling 911 while continuing CPR, the then-15-month-old was rushed to the hospital. But Samantha was without a pulse for about 20 minutes.
Weiler says doctors couldn't get it back.
"The respiratory therapist said, 'Mom you need to hold her hand and tell her you're here,'" Weiler said. "That's when she got her pulse back."
Little Samantha spent months in the hospital with brain injuries and she needed much of her nutrition through a feeding tube.
Nearly a year later Weiler says she's come a long way.
"She smiles a lot, she loves her sisters," Weiler said. "She loves to play. We see little glimpses of Samantha come back all the time."
"They knew she would reach this point," said Steve Szura, her father. "But they thought it would be about five years later. It's been less than a year so her recovery is coming along really well."
Samantha now participates in her weekly swim therapy lesson.
The folks with Goldfish Swim School in Ann Arbor have grown close to this bright spirit and plan to hold an educational fundraiser Friday for Samantha during Swim Safety Awareness Month. All proceeds go to her family.
"Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4," said Maggie Honeyman from Goldfish Swim School. "But the American Red Cross says that the most important thing for the child to learn water safety is to get them in swim lessons."
Trainers say children as young as four months old can start swim lessons. Samantha's family hopes her story may save another young life.
On Friday, May 20, from 7:00 to 8:00p.m., Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor (2107 West Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, Michigan is hosting a public swim fundraiser for Samantha.
Staff will also be on hand to answer pool safety questions. Admission is $5 per child. All monies raised will go towards Samantha's medical bills. Donations can also be made directly to the GoFundMe account here.