Twelve years after the tragic drowning of their 19-month-old daughter, Edna Mae, Cassie and her husband, Shannon McGovern, almost immediately founded the McGovern Foundation (501c3) with the mission statement, “Raising awareness for drowning prevention and organ donation one family at a time.“
After seven years working with the Department of Health, a conversation with another of her daughters prompted Cassie to reevaluate her professional life. “We want to use our pain for a greater purpose focusing on our passion to save lives.”
Insightful, empathetic, and full of faith, Cassie goes on to say, “Something that we found with families who have suffered the loss of a child is: Divorce, substance abuse issues, the lasting effects on siblings who are left behind, the suicide rates for them. The ripple effects of that death expand further than one thinks. We want to provide support to these families”.
• In Florida, drowning is the number one cause of uninten-
tional death for children ages 1 to 4.
• The CDC shows that for every one fatality, five children
are impacted by non-fatal injuries.
• More than 50% of American adults are NOT proficient
enough at swimming to be able to save their own life.
• On average, Florida loses 80 children a year to drowning.
That number does not include non-fatal incidents, which
are often devastating.
At this time, the McGoverns are excited to revitalize and re-purpose the Foundation, and there are several components to their vision. Cassie says, “We’d love to provide memory boxes to families who have lost a child… Something that’s comforting to remember their child by, and then an invitation to a peer support group”.
The McGovern Foundation’s main focus will continue to be on water safety. Cassie says, “We will produce water safety kits that will be disseminated to realtors, pediatricians and pool industry professionals.” It’s only a five step process to prevent a drowning, and knowledge is power! Cassie believes it is imperative to get these kits into people’s hands… “Buyers purchasing a new home, people putting in a new pool, there are so many different places we can provide these kits to!”
Teen Advocacy – The McGovern Foundation came up with a program for students preventing unintentional drowning. Cassie says, “We want to implement the concept statewide, providing teens with leadership skills, character development and a opportunity to become a lifeguard, Ultimately, educating the teens to be safe in around the water.”
She laments, “When the parents don’t know how to swim, they pass their fear of the water to their children, and those kids may do the same exact thing as adults. Educating the youth is paramount to bring about change in the next generation.”
Cassie, Shannon, and the McGovern Foundation are planning a Swim/Tread-a-Thon the week of August 3rd to August 10th (marking the 12th anniversary of Em’s drowning).
For further information about sponsorship and coming events, please visit www.mcgovernfoundation.com