anniversary of a rescue :: celebrate with me!

I celebrate this anniversary every year, and I assume I always will. Four years ago today, our son was almost killed. The fact that he wasn’t seems like something to keep celebrating.

Four years ago today, while vacationing at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, our then 3 year-old son fell into a hole dug by other children. The hole collapsed on him, burying him. He was completely buried (with his head at least 8 inches under the surface) for 5 minutes or more. Miraculously, he survived. (The full story is here , with follow-up here ).

Little Buddha, age 7

Afterwards, I learned that sandhole collapses are a more frequent occurrence than I would’ve dreamed, and that the majority of them end in death. There are four easy things you can do to prevent such a tragedy:
1. When you arrive at the beach, always check nearby for any holes left by others, and fill them in.
2. Do not dig holes any deeper than knee-high of the shortest person in your group. Yeah, I know this sounds extreme. If this feels more extreme than your group can accommodate then perhaps you can at least stop at waist-high.
3. If you do dig holes, fill them in before you leave. The hole my son fell in had been left by other children.
4. Make sure any children you go to the beach with know that holes and trenches can be dangerous, and that they should let you know if they see any abandoned holes.

Every year, as part of my celebration of getting our baby back, I post about our experience, in hopes of raising awareness of this entirely preventable sort of accident. Every summer these accidents continue to happen (a teenager in California was nearly killed two weeks ago). My internet friends have been a huge part of helping me get out the word.

Also as part of my celebration, I always do a tiny giveaway. This year, I’m giving away this .
fiber :: Hello Yarn Rambouillet

That’s Hello Yarn Rambouillet in “Burrows” (October 2010 Fiber Club).

Here’s the deal, if a spinner wins it, it’s yours to spin! If a non-spinning knitter wins it, I will spin it up for you! (to get to you in September or so). And if a non-spinning non-knitting person wins it, I will spin it up and knit you a fall hat or mittens with it. Pretty good deal, eh?

All you have to do is leave a comment here, or on my blog, or on my Facebook or Google Plus page, and I will enter you into the drawing. And if you let me know that you spread the word (through FB, TW, Google+, or your own blog), I will enter you a second time. I will draw a random winner next Saturday, July 16, after 5:00pm EST.

Thanks for celebrating with me y’all.

love this kid

121 thoughts on “anniversary of a rescue :: celebrate with me!

  1. What an anniversary!!! Thank you for sharing this important information. I will spread the word! The pictures of you and your son are beautiful!! Thanks for the giveaway. I haven’t progressed to spinning (yet!) but I do love to knit!!!

  2. I’m so glad that your son was okay! I am familiar with the problems with trenches because I used to go down into test pits for septics with my job, and always was told to make sure the excavator steps the holes back to ensure it will not collapse. I have heard of people whose heads are not covered but they can’t breath because their chests are compressed too much from the soil. It is so scary. So glad your son is okay!! Definitely a reason to celebrate!

  3. I was just thinking about your story the other day! I knew it was about this time of year, but wasn’t sure of the exact date… We were just at the beach last weekend, and my kids reminded me of the “no deeper than your knees” rule on the way in. Thanks so much for sharing your story — so happy that you had a happy ending!

  4. Having read your story some time ago, I also find myself thinking about it whenever I visit a beach. I had never heard of something like this happening before, so I appreciate you spreading the word.
    That last photo of you and your son is so adorable! The hair!

  5. I’m so glad you posted this again. Every year I email your story and post it to facebook too.

    Just yesterday my almost 3 year old went missing. We moved to a new house on the weekend and so it was unfamiliar territory. To make a long story short a police officer found her after 20 minutes. She had been hiding under a pile of unstore blankets and fell asleep so she didn’t hear us calling for her.

    It was the most frightening 20 minutes of my life.

    I’m so glad that your boy and my girl are safe.

  6. I think of your story every year when we start heading to the beach. thank you for keeping it alive and spreading the word.

  7. Wow! Look at how grown up he is! I’ll never forget that post and can never view holes at the beach the in same way again. I’m glad you posted this again as a reminder to all and for those who don’t know.

  8. we celebrate an anniversary, too, of our son getting off his feeding tube and leaving his medical odyssey behind. i will repost your link on fb (got it via carmen). happy happy happy!!!!!!! and he’s such a beautiful boy πŸ™‚

  9. Wow! We live on a beach in Cape Cod and I was unaware of how dangerous this can be. Going forward, I’ll be the mom going around filling holes!

    Thank you for sharing!

  10. I didn’t know I’d been reading your blog for so long. I remember being in tears when you originally told your story. So thankful for a happy ending! Oh, and I’d love to spin that fiber! It’s gorgeous.

  11. Such a terrifying thing to happen. I’m so glad that you can celebrate this anniversary and spread the word. I’ve grew up by the Pacific Ocean and was taught to fear the riptides but it would never have occurred to anyone that the sand can also be dangerous.

  12. wow what a story! glad it had a happy ending.
    i don’t go to the beach so i had no idea digging could be so dangerous..i’l def be sharing the tips with the beach-goers i know.

  13. How lovely to have something so fabulous to celebrate every year. Thanks for letting us celebrate with you.

  14. Happy birthday, Stacey. Love the photos of you both – and thank you for posting that horrifying story again. I’ve told it to my husband and children and other friends with whom we’ve been to the beach – the word’s spreading.

  15. I had no idea they were so dangerous. So glad that you are able to celebrate this rescue. Thank you for sharing your story and I will pass this along!

  16. I still cannot get over this amazing, miraculous thing. I remember reading about it in your blog two years ago and the feeling I get remains the same. Your son has some really powerful Guardian Angel. πŸ™‚ WIll be spreading the word on Facebook shortly.

  17. I just linked this post on Facebook–I have so many friends with children these days that it seemed like a good idea to let them know that not all hazards at the beach are water related.

  18. Thank you for continuing to remind us this can happen. I’ll be at the beach for a week with family friends, including two little boys, later this month, and I will be attuned to the possibility.
    I will definitely link this post on Facebook and Twitter.

  19. My heart clutches when I remember that accident. Thanks for posting the simple, helpful steps to avoid it. It’s hard living in a random world; anything we can do to reduce the risk helps the collective psyche, I suppose. I celebrate your boys today!

  20. Thank you for sharing and celebrating your son’s life! Until very recently, it really wasn’t something I paid any attention to – I had NO idea. I’ve put the link on Facebook in order to nudge my Jersey Shore friends and the folks from where I live who are going to the beach this summer (myself included!)

    PS – He is so sweet and handsome!

  21. I remember when this happened — and you have been great in causing an awareness of this. As we go to St.George Island next week, I will be so much more aware of dangers such of this because of your experience. I am promoting this on FB.

  22. What an experience. Since I have 3 children and my oldest is 3 years old, this is definitely something we need to think about. My sister, Jennifer Knisley spread the word to me through her facebook page and I also plan to spread the word on my FB page. Thank you and Happy Anniversary!

  23. I adore that last photo of you and your precious boy. I forward your story each year to my friends – definitely something to celebrate, but I admire that you make a point to spread the word!

  24. What a great service to parents everywhere! I’ll definitely re-post this warning, and add another… rip-tides exist in the inland seas of the Great Lakes. My father was stationed there for years (Coast Guard) and one of his worst experiences was retrieving the lifeless bodies of children swept away by those tides. As parents and friends of children, we cannot be TOO vigilant around water.

    So happy for your happy ending, and your sharing for our benefit!


  25. Thank you for the warning. We haven’t taken my son to the beach yet, but now I’ll know to look out for sand pits. I’m one of those who used to dig giant holes in the sand when I went. Won’t be doing that any more!

  26. Wow, what a life affirming story…So wonderful to read about happy endings. I know you give thanks every day for that precious son of yours. I will certainly share this with facebook friends for sure.

  27. Wow, I had no idea that this happened at all. I always thought my mom was just mean when she wouldn’t let us dig holes big enough to get into, but that makes sense — if you can get into it, someone else can fall into it. And it’s not like sand always stays where you put it. I am glad your boy is okay! As a side note, I love reading your blog and have been meaning to add it to my blog roll — so I’m glad you ‘reminded’ me by posting on Ravelry!

  28. Wow, I had no idea that this happened at all. I always thought my mom was just mean when she wouldn’t let us dig holes big enough to get into, but that makes sense — if you can get into it, someone else can fall into it. And it’s not like sand always stays where you put it. I am glad your boy is okay! As a side note, I love reading your blog and have been meaning to add it to my blog roll — so I’m glad you ‘reminded’ me by posting on Ravelry! I’m tweeting too, you know the place πŸ˜‰

  29. I think you should submit a variation of this to Pieceworks magazine, maybe with some pictures of the pieces that have been made over the years–it would be a good way to raise awareness too.

  30. Knitting/Spinner here. So glad you had a happy ending to your beach encounter, I am happy to spread the word in hopes fewer people will have such a scary day at the beach. I have posted to FB. On a side note, just want to say, you and your son have the most beautiful hair. πŸ™‚
    ps, the fiber is gorgeous as well. ;D

  31. oh my ..what an amazing story..thank god he is alright..i used to dig holes as a kid and never thought that it never occured to me how dangerous it was….the fiber is beautiful and i love how your offering to spin and knit it..very generous!!

  32. It’s so amazing to watch him grow up and think that something so senseless could have stopped that from happening. I’m going to go repost on Facebook and I should have a blog up later today and get the word out there as well.

  33. He is such a cutie and I am so so glad he is OK. It’s really good that you’re spreading the word about this — it’s honestly something I never would have thought about as dangerous, and I’ll definitely let my friends with kids to know they should look out for on the beach.

  34. A Great celebration! I hadn’t thought about holes in years…. good to remember. Thanks. I do knit but don’t spin!

  35. Thanks for sharing your story, I will be sure to warn my friends and family when we head to the coast. It’s great that you can celebrate what could have been a tragedy and spread the word to help save others!

  36. If there could ever be something to celebrate it would indeed be this reason. Thanks to your annual celebrations, I am reminded to spread the word. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway. πŸ™‚

  37. I think about your story every time I’m at the beach, and how the outcome could have been so awful. Thank you for reminding people about how easily sand holes cave in. (And I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I LOVE all that curly hair, on both of you!)

  38. I would just like to say that I know exactly how you feel in not being able to revisit the memory. My child nearly drowned to death when she was four. I was not there. She was at my aunt’s house but we almost lost her. Luckily, my aunt is a nurse and performed CPR on her. She had to spend the night in the pediatric trauma unit but is ok. She is now 13 and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God and my aunt for letting us keep her. I would not have survived the alternative. I know you are thankful and always will be. God Bless you and your family!

  39. So, so glad this is a happy anniversary — your son is gorgeous and precious, and the photos of the two of you are filled with love. I have so many friends with small children now that it feels mandatory for me to share this on Facebook. Who knows who it will save? Thank you for urging us to amplify your voice. *hugs to you and your family*

  40. I worry about people on the beach at night falling into these holes or running and tripping with injury. Thanks for the post and praise God that your son is alive.

  41. Your story always makes me cry. Thank you for warning everyone about this scary possibility! Love to you and your family!

  42. Posted on FB! πŸ™‚ I was happy to share this story on FB last year, and I am happy to do it again this year (and every year to come)! Much love to you guys as you celebrate this anniversary. xo

  43. I spread the word on my facebook page and I am commenting here. So glad your son’s okay, and having taken a recent trip to the beach with my 1 year old – how scary! Thank you! πŸ™‚

  44. I’ve always wondered if kids down in deep sandholes were courting disaster… makes me nervous and now I know why! I will spread the word here in Chicago on Foster Beach during our weekly homeschool beach days. So glad your story has a happy ending!

  45. Thank you for educating me about this important safety hazard. We live on Long Island and go to the beach frequently, as do many of our friends. You have opened my eyes and I will pass it on to others. Thank the Lord your beautiful son is healthy and happy.

  46. I’m passing this on to my daughter and her friends who frequent the beach in Jacksonville, FL. Thank you for sharing your story and thanks be to God for rescuing your little boy.

  47. I read your son’s survival story a few years ago now and it had a profound effect upon me. Every time we go to the beach, I think of those holes. I repeat to my boys over and over again NOT to play in any holes and instead we fill them up. You are so blessed to still have him. It’s truly the story of Lazarus. I would be honored to win your yarn. I will also pass this story along via facebook.

  48. Wow! I am so glad for you that everything worked out well. We live very close to many beaches, and this story is so important for everyone to hear. I reposted a link to this page that one of my facebook friends posted. I hope it helps stop even one person from digging deep holes or from leaving them there when they leave the beach.

  49. We lived in Florida when my kids were young and spent many hours at some lovely beaches. I was always on guard against a water accident. I never thought of the sand as being such a danger. Thanks for sharing your story. I will share this information whenever I know of someone taking a beach trip.

  50. What an amazing thing to celebrate! Thank you for sharing your story and bringing light to something that I never would have thought about or realized was a danger. I shared this on my FB wall (via Pam Butler). Best wishes to you and your family.

  51. Stacey, what an important way to celebrate this good anniversary that could have been so tragic. Thank you for spreading the word – I had read your story about this earlier, and am glad for the reminder.
    Blessings as you and your sons continue to grow together!!

  52. Wow. I’d never heard of this phenomenon before! We don’t have much sand in Colorado, but I’ve posted your link on Facebook so my friends who don’t live in land-locked states can see it.

    I’m so happy your son is okay. I’d celebrate every year too, if I were you!

  53. thank you for this info. it is so important and something that i would never have thought to think about. I will spread the word!

  54. I an so happy that your story had such a happy ending. It is exponentially wonderful that you have made this your cause. You’ll never know how many children’s lives were saved by your efforts! I will post a link to your story on my facebook page and help you spread the word. I’m expecting a grandchild soon which always heightens ones awareness of potential accidents.

  55. one of my friends posted this on Facebook and I am going to share it for all of my friends with toddlers. Thank goodness this is a day of celebration for you!

  56. What an incredible story! I too arrived here via a Facebook post from one of my friends, and I’m so glad I did, as I have a 6 year old son who has to explore and ivestigate EVERYTHING. Thank you so much for sharing and raising awareness of this very dangerous (and frighteningly, not so rare!) occurrance. The photos of you and your son are amazing, such beautiful people πŸ™‚ Off to share your story with my own circle of friends on Facebook.

    • That is amazing… We go to the beach everyday, since we live within walking distance….. Thanks for the eyeopener! I will share this also.

  57. This is an incredible blessing and wonderful opportunity to celebrate. This is something that I was not aware of until now. Thanks so much for posting.

  58. I’m glad this story has a happy ending. Thanks for the important information. I’m going to forward this to my brother who is about to spend 2 weeks at the beach with his two small boys.

  59. Thank you for posting this. I have never thought of the dangers of the holes children dig on the beach. Your son’s rescue was amazing, and your annual celebration of that rescue has reached at least one new person this season. I will pass along the caution to my 5 year old great-nephew and his mom.

  60. WOW! What at day to celebrate! Wishing you and your family never go thought anything like that. Glad I read this today….we are heading to the beach in about an hour.Thanks for shareing I will be spreading the word.

  61. Stacey, I first read your story last year and forwarded it to my siblings with young children. It’s not something I had ever recognized as a danger, but I am very much aware of it now. I am so happy your story had a happy ending and thank you for your efforts to prevent it from happening to others. Happy anniversary! Cathy

  62. Awesome story and lesson to be learned. Leassons are learned much easier when there is a wonderful outcome instead of a horrible one. We also have a near miss with my son Ben. I much rather and enjoy telling of a near miss when I can look over at him and smile.

  63. Wow, I’d have never thought of that being a danger on the beach. I’m so glad your son was rescued and thank you for spreading the word.

  64. I remember this story from last year and have mentioned it to a few people I know – people like to dig in the sand, but shallower holes are a good idea.

  65. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years. I remember reading your story and thinking of all the times we’d been to the beach and not known about this. My kids are grown but I shared the story with them in the hope they would remember and share with their friends (who are now having kids of their own). I am posting the link to your blog on facebook too, because it is so important to get this information out. I am, like everyone else here, so very glad your story had a happy ending when it happened.

  66. So very much to celebrate! It had never occurred to me that such a thing could happen. I certainly will be vigilant from now on when playing on the beach with my two little ones. You and your son are beautiful and obviously meant to be together.

  67. Thank you so much for posting this – it showed up on my facebook wall after reposting by my sister in law – we’re expecting our first grandchild next week and my daughter goes to the beach – I will make sure she knows about this danger. Congratulations on this anniversary – many many more to come!

  68. Wonderful result of your scare. I have three kids of my own (and I’m a twin) so I can’t imagine what you went through in those few minutes. Give that sweet boy a hug from an internet stranger who is happy to see his smile. πŸ™‚

  69. Wow, Stacey….. What a horrific ordeal. I am so happy to hear that your sweet boy was and is okay. I can’t even imagine…. Thanks for all of the information regarding this problem- I would have never known. Having 4 little ones, living in New England and as a lover of the beach, I am grateful for the information. Hugs to you and your family. Enjoy the celebration of this wonderful anniversary…. Thank goodness he is okay
    -Jessica aka stripedsocks

  70. PS I meant to say above: I already have some Burrows, so if my number gets picked, please choose again πŸ™‚
    -Jessica (again)

  71. I’m so glad to hear that your son survived! Thank you for the warning. My daughter is too young to go toddling around beaches yet but this hazard hadn’t even occurred to me.

  72. Amazing story! So glad that your son was OK. We don’t get to the beach much anymore. Can not afford it now that I am a single mom. I grew up on the coast of NH & used to take the family to South Myrtle Beach every year.
    Your son is beautiful. Keep enjoying those kisses & all that beautiful hair!!!
    Oh & how cool is your Burrows yarn! My mom’s maiden name was Burrows!


  73. Awesome anniversary to have (although I’m sure you’d rather not have experienced it at all, of course)! I’ve heard about sand collapses not too long ago in the news. I want to say it was an adult man who was trapped, thankfully he survived as well. Will definitely post a link to this post on my blog. πŸ™‚

    I also have to say as a fellow curly haired person, you and your son have gorgeous hair! πŸ™‚ Hehe…

    Happy Anniversary!

  74. Pingback: Blog Pimp for a Good Cause « Coffee & Prozac

  75. Wow! Not something I would have ever thought about! So happy he is safe and well! Gorgoeus pics of you two! Thans for sharing your story and I will definitley spread the word!!

  76. Came via a friend, and added you to my feed reader. Since reading your post for the first time a few days ago, I’ve been newly vigilant about the holes at our neighborhood beach. Thanks so much for sharing this story with all of us.

  77. Someone linked to this on twitter, and I just read the story of your son. Then I went into the bathroom at work and cried. I have twin three year old boys, and we just moved to a beach town. We’ve been going to the beach every weekend and, like you, I thought water was the main thing to be cautious about. I am so grateful to have read this and I will be sure to be careful about holes in the sand. I am resisting the urge to leave work early just to go squeeze my boys in gratitude and love.

  78. I’m so thrilled to celebrate your birthday again this year, Stacey. Another reminder to spread this story again, and thank you for keeping it in our minds.

  79. This has opened my eyes to be more aware when at the beach and not to worry just about the water. Thank you! Glad to hear that your story is a happy one and not a tragedy.

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