Christmas Appeal 2020

17 December 2020

Royal Life Saving WA is currently holding its annual Christmas fundraising appeal, one of two major appeals each year to assist us in continuing our water safety and drowning prevention work across the West Australian community. As a not-for-profit organisation Royal Life Saving relies on the generosity of donors and supporters to complete our important work, including teaching vital Swim and Survive skills to thousands of children across WA who would miss out without intervention.

2020 has been a difficult year for many Western Australians, and the impact of COVID-19 runs deep. The closure of schools and aquatic centres earlier this year meant that thousands of children in our community, who were once learning to Swim and Survive, missed out on taking part in lessons, with many still not able to resume their water safety education due to financial difficulties. This makes them extremely vulnerable to drowning this summer.

Over the past ten years, 122 children aged 5-14 years drowned across Australia. That means 122 families faced the unimaginable pain of losing a child. On Christmas day there will be an empty place at the dinner table and around the Christmas tree. Where a child once played and laughed, there will be silence.

As a mum who nearly lost two of her sons to drowning last year, Newsha Hayter knows just how important swimming lessons are for children. The incident happened early in 2019, but Newsha says that day is still fresh in her mind.

“It was over the summer holidays that my husband Troy and I decided to take our three boys, Micah (5 years), Kian (7 years), and Zeyer (5 years) down to Pemberton’s Big Brook Dam. But while Troy and the boys were playing in the water, our fun day out turned into a nightmare. In the few seconds Troy turned away to help Zeyer, Micah and Kian got themselves into deep water and were struggling to stay afloat. Kian actually tried to rescue his brother, but with only basic swimming skills he almost drowned too.”

Thankfully Troy was able to get out to the boys and bring them to safety, but he did need to perform CPR on Micah to bring him back to life. “I cannot begin to describe to you how happy I was to see my child breathe again. But after the incident, my boys were traumatised. Kian became very hesitant and scared to get in the water and when Micah got his face wet in the shower he would start to panic. Seeing them this way broke my heart” says Newsha.Children's pictures of their swimming lessons

The family quickly enrolled their boys in swimming lessons at Swan Active Beechboro, a Royal Life Saving Endorsed Swim School and Newsha says she’s amazed by her children’s development! “It’s been over a year since they started the program and I can’t begin to tell you how much the lessons have helped Micah, Kian and Zeyer. Not only have they learnt water safety and survival skills, but they have also learnt how to enjoy and be confident in the water. Zeyer, Micah and Kian finally love swimming again, and that is the greatest gift of all.”

Newsha is concerned that other children across WA are missing out on learning these crucial skills. “This worries me because in a country like Australia, where water is all around us, these skills are not only essential – they are lifesaving. The pain of almost losing Micah and Kian to drowning is something I don’t want any other mother, parent or family to ever go through. You can make sure that doesn’t happen. If you can, please donate to Royal Life Saving WA today so they can continue to help children learn how to Swim and Survive. “

If you’re able, Royal Life Saving WA would appreciate your help this Christmas. All donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible. You can donate at the link below. Thank you for helping us to save lives across WA.

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