Losing a Loved One to Drowning… WHAT NEXT?

What happens to a mother, a wife, and those of missing loved ones who go missing in the water? What happens next? Tonight, Christina (DJ’s Momma), Judy (Nicholas Allen’s Mom), and Christy (Bill Simmons Wife) will share their experiences.

These women are strong, have formed a support group for other families losing a family member to drowning, and now advocating to help prevent the loss of another life with Christina’s “Not One More” Campaign”.

Adventures With Purpose is partnering up with Christina’s “Not One More” Campaign to spread awareness of lifejacket safety with fundraising efforts for the life jacket loaner stations.


25 years, 9 months, 18 days. That’s how long I had my beautiful son here on earth.

Since birth, DJ has been described as a gentle old soul. He was pure of heart, incredibly shy, with a contagious grin. He exuded kindness and had a great sensitivity for the world around him. Being his Mom is one of my greatest accomplishments. He was the happiest when he was outdoors and was an avid kayaker. His love for the water began at an early age after he advanced from a “shrimp” to a “shark” during his certified swim lessons. We considered our entire family confident, strong swimmers. On the morning of October 24, 2020, at 9:40am, DJ was dropped off at one of his favorite areas to kayak. He planned to be picked up (14)miles and (6)hours later. We quickly realized something was wrong when he never made it. His overturned kayak, cell phone, lunch AND life jacket were found by a couple fishermen. My beautiful son’s body wouldn’t be recovered until days later, fully submerged, only (300) yards from where he launched. As his Mom, I couldn’t take one step forward until I knew what happened and what his last moments were like. Unfortunately, I’ll never have all of the answers. However, I know wearing that life jacket, instead of having it stowed, could’ve changed the entire outcome. Overconfidence can prove just as dangerous as not being able to swim at all. It greatly reduces our healthy fear and respect for the water.

Just (16) hours before DJ went missing, we celebrated the fact he was expecting his first child. He was thrilled. He’s going to have a son, named River. The fact he’ll never meet him is a tragedy in itself. DJ would’ve been an amazing Dad.

Grief is both messy and confusing.
It became apparent that I’d have to find a way to redirect some of my heartache. I’d have to if I wanted to survive. DJ was too special, and his loss too great. I had to share his story. I had to do something to prevent this from happening again.

My son should’ve had his life jacket on. It’s that simple, yet 90% of drowning victims aren’t wearing one. By observing basic water safety guidelines, many situations that could lead to drowning can be adverted. My son knew how to swim but he didn’t know how to survive drowning. My greatest loss will fuel my greatest mission. I will fiercely advocate for water/boating safety and the use of life jackets, EVERY time. Our “Not One More” campaign will increase access to certified personal flotation devices by placing life jacket loaner stations at recreational swimming and boating areas. Infants, children and adults will be able to borrow a Coast Guard certified life jacket for the day, and return it when they leave. Each station will tell DJ’s story while promoting water safety and the importance of knowing first aid and CPR.

Please wear your life jacket like your life depends on it, because it does. Use my son’s tragic death to prevent yours. Drowning doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are or how much you’d be missed. I won’t stop until there’s #notonemore.

DJ’s Momma ❤️
01/07/1995 ~ 10/25/2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2GLQkXFP74 ** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **

Author: rafael.nieves


34 thoughts on “Losing a Loved One to Drowning… WHAT NEXT?

  1. Our 37 year old nephew drowned almost 2 years ago. The thing that haunts me of what he must have been going through.

    I think what AWP does is allows family and friends the chance to start the grieving process.

  2. April 26, 2016 I lost my daughter to a drowning accident. She would have been 3 on May 4th. Nobody understands unless you’ve been there. The pain is unbearable and I miss her so much. She drowned in 3 feet of water in a creek and it took a few hours of searching to find her. I joined in the search efforts and came close but a civilian trained in CPR found her and tried to save her. The police officials seemed to lack knowledge in these types of cases, at least where I’m from. God bless all the parents who have lost a child and God Bless AWP for their selfless and courageous acts to find our loved ones when nobody else has.

  3. As a mom….a boy mom…this just guts me. I know they have no choice but these women are so strong. I can’t imagine how hard it is to go on and yet they’re trying to use their grief for good. Big hugs for all 3 of these women.

  4. Just an idea but maybe do a one for one campaign like Tom’s (shoes) and Bombas (socks). Let the cost of a life jacket someone purchases for themselves cover the cost of a donated jacket as well. Buy a jacket and a jacket gets donated type of thing. That way the only way someone can purchase this life jacket is to also donate a life jacket. For a good cause.

  5. Christina young, I totally understand the not knowing… there Could be a possibility, so finding out is A step into the whole process of healing…
    my condolences!

  6. So sorry for your loss. I found out my partner had passed when I went to report him missing, it doesn't matter how long they are missing, the pain in your heart, the confusion and anger that you go through is the same. I still cry, every time someone is going through the same thing. It's hard to be strong all the time. You ladies are very brave to come on here, by doing so you are helping so many others. Bless you all.

  7. I cannot swim. A family member drowned when I was younger. I have a heavy fear of water. I wear a life jacket when I go anywhere near the water. I know that life jackets are mandatory if your on the water where I live. The Game Wardens are the ones that enforce it. There aren't that many/enough Game Wardens to do that job. Since that's the case, the loaner life vest stations that can be found in some areas, should be made mandatory at every water recreation area. But that's just my opinion.

  8. My son was on a fishing trip with his girlfriend when he went down. June 18 2011. I am glad he was recoverd. They want us to leave I told my husband if we leave they will quit looking.

  9. You are all such beautiful Ladies, im so sorry for your loss and pray God will help you all to heal and find a peace within, and im so grateful for Jerad and those who help him to do what they do and all those who donate to-help them be able to, put your trust in God and he will help you get thru this and find a way to make a difference to others, i plan to help in ways i can, and i pray everyday for the safety for all who risk there lives to help find loved ones

  10. My former employee's 8 year old daughter drowned in a local river last summer. They still haven't recovered her body, and they don't think they ever will. She still goes out to look for her daughter every chance she gets. She got swept away with her cousin, and they were able to save her, but not Taries.

  11. I missed several of the episodes because I stopped getting notifications. I’m so sorry that happened. But I want to vow to Christina this moment that I will now and forever actually wear my life jacket. Her son’s story hit me hard in the gut. I too am a very strong swimmer and always have a life jacket because it’s the law here in Louisiana, but I never actually wear it. That changes starting today. I will ALWAYS put it on from here forward. I wish I could help with buying a life jacket for her cause, but I just can’t do it. But I want her to know that DJ’s story has changed me concerning life jackets and my over confidence in my ability to rely on my own ability to be safe on the water without one. DJ’s story just prevented me from continuing to believe in my ability to save myself in a water accident. He potentially saved my life tonight. I promise I will ALWAYS put it own correctly and fasten it and everything. Thank you Christina for helping me understand the importance and jarring me into realizing I’m definitely not invincible on the water. You just kicked my tail, dear lady, and I thank you for that. Love from Susan in Louisiana.

  12. I live near L. Michigan. So many people drown each year because they think it's safer here than on the ocean & because of that are not as careful as they should be. It's not safe on red flags days, many don't realize it & many drown. There's a loaner station on the Co. Park beach but not on the State Park beaches

  13. My father's lifelong friend lost his son to hypothermia after falling into 40 degree water while fishing with friends. He was not wearing a life jacket and his body went into cold shock before he could reach the shore. it just goes to show you how dangerous cold water can be even when you are with somebody. Always be cautious around bodies of water cold or warm and always wear a life preserver in open water.

  14. I came upon your videos a couple of days ago, at first it was hard to watch, but I still continued to watch. I started to walk this road these 3 beautiful ladies are walking now in this video. In 1998 I lost my only son in a canoeing accident. He was 17 years old, and he was not wearing a life jacket. I was fortunate, the divers found my son after 12 hours of searching for him. So I was able to hold him in my arm one more time. I just wanted to say to these ladies, there are many of us, who never wanted to wear the shoes we wear. But we keep walking, one day at a time, one step at a time many days. I am glad you have found each other, because no one else is able to really understand unless they walk this path also. I like Christine worked on life jacket stations, they are called "Kids Don't Float" here in Alaska and I also wrote a poem and the park rangers placed it on a plaque on top of a rock that sits on the lake where my son left this earth. The words are his plea, and the plaque reads "May you love this place as I, The beauty God made it to be, But allow it not to take away, As it took away the life in me. It is not so much in leaving Earth, That weighs upon my mind, It is the pain within the ones I love, It is all the hurting that stays behind. The pain of no longer seeing me, Because these waters set me free. Please , think of those who would grieve so much, Their hurting and their pain, Wear these jackets left here at this place, let my death not be in vain.:"

  15. I lost my grandpa to drowning. He was boating in a lake where the water can get dangerous really fast. Just a little while before his boat flipped a flare went off for someone in another emergency. And when my grandpas flare went off. A bystander noticed and called the police but the police claimed they were already investigating the flare. Instead of taking this bystanders claims seriously they left my grandpa in the lake even though he shot flares trying to get help.

    It wasn’t until around a week later his body was found on the shore.

  16. Hugs to you all who hade lost some one dear and thanks Jardine and Sam and all the peope arond you
    Hugs with love ♥️🙏♥️. Stay safe out there guys. Love you all, ♥️🙏♥️🙏♥️

  17. This topic. Water safety. So so important. I live on the East Coast and I can't even tell you how many drownings happen every single year. Tourist season especially bc you have ppl not experienced or knowledgeable about the ocean. So many adults and kids, mostly adults drown each year at my local beach. My nephew came in from Midwest and wanted So badly to swim in the ocean during a red flag. He was mad at me bc I wouldn't let him go in and bc other people were swimming so why couldn't he. I told him be mad at me but he didn't have a life jacket and I wanted to return him to his mom and alive. So many people just don't realize how strong the ocean is, how dangerous water in general can be. Heed the warnings. Use a life jacket. My little one isn't allowed in the ocean water even knee deep without a life jacket. I see so many risky swimmers, SO many. I'm glad you all are covering this. We have channels and waterways that seem safe enough but yes if you are doing outdoor water activities please be safe and please keep the little ones safe. Thank you to all who came in and shared their stories and for that movement about borrowing life jackets. That is amazing. I hope to contribute somehow. Thank you all and God bless these women who lost their loved ones in a drowning situation/tragedy/water recovery. I love AWP and everyone involved and all the good that comes from it. My nearly 92 year old grandmother even knows who you all are and finds Jared, Sam,, Dan and all these amazing people fascinating. Keep up being awesome humans and take care of yourselves and your families. 💕

  18. Sending up prayers 4 everyone sorry 4 ur loss may they rest high upon the mountain sit with the Creator God and Jesus and our Ancestors in Heaven may they have bless great healthy peaceful safe journeys travels and crossing may they be at peace sending up prayers 4 yall also Jared y not make ur adventurers with a purpose a none profit org and open chapters up in each state I know that's something that will be further dwn the road if u were to do that also ur org could be partnered with everyone else's programs and or organizations like these mentioned in this video and others also yall could chk out aniyah's heart this is something yall can partner with too I'm so touched by yall and everyone of ur crew also the mothers and fmlys left behind r angels among us may yall save beyond measure ppl's lives with all yall's vids and the programs to spring off of ur organization this is just a idea Jared I just can't say enough about what yall do I as a viewer thank yall much 4 everything and keep up the great wrk bless great healthy peaceful safe journeys travels and safe dives to yall to the mother's father's and those left behind know that love and prayers is sent yall's way too 💪🙂

  19. In 2013 we lost our Son and his best friend in a boating accident on the Susquehanna river in Delta Pa. We have search for 3 days Family and friends on day 3 I found our son he had drowned on the following day we found his friend and he had drowned also. According to eye witness's that saved the operator of the boat the only savvier that our Son Cody made it to shore and went back out into the river 3 times to try to save his best friend on the 3rd time they both went under. that was June 1st 2013 . by Peach Bottom nuclear power plant. there are many accidents and death caused by this plant because of the release of the reactor water into a cold river it creates a whirl pool and very unsettled waters. nothing is being done to correct the danger.

  20. I lost my son Damon a Marine at 19 in 1999, he drowned saving someone in a fishing accident at Wolford Lake in Kremmling Co. , he was home on leave and went fishing with his step father and 3 men from Safeway where he used to work …all 4 men were in a 2 man boat..a freak microburst happened and it took us 5 weeks to recover his body . I had support from the Larimer County Dive Team but basically they came out when we found things. It almost killed me and I know these ladies pain well..Finally in 2007 we got the Navy Marine medal for Damon, as he brought 2 men to shore and went back out to the boat for reasons we don't know…it was a stupid tragic accident and my son Damon lost his life. I wish you all healing and strength.

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