Colin Holst was born on September 2, 2003 in Austin, Texas. The baby boy with the mop of dark hair that looked just like his mother was the perfect complement to his two-year old sister with her sandy hair and a face just like her daddy’s. Although, at first he brought many sleepless, colicky nights for his parents, by the time he reached a year, Colin was a happy & energetic toddler. And from the very beginning, “Little Man” or “Buddy,” as he was known to his family, loved to run! Colin liked nothing more than to challenge his friends, his sister or even his mom and dad to a running race, and you can be sure he won most of the time!
Colin entered preschool at a young age and found that making friends came easily to him. His enthusiasm and energy was contagious and, before long, he and two of his classmates had become known as “The Three Amigos.” The boys were inseparable in and out of school, playing and plotting and dreaming about all the adventures they would have together. Colin loved to announce, after a particularly good day with his friends or his family, that it was his “Best Day Ever!” And every best day was soon followed by another for this lucky little boy.
The year Colin turned 4, he loved cartoons and video games and Power Rangers, all things the boys his age were crazy about. Colin enjoyed going to the beach and the pool with his family, but he never took to the water quite like his older sister. He’d always been cautious around swimming pools and didn’t particularly like getting splashed by the older kids. But the year Colin was 4, something changed during his annual swimming lessons. He was brave and he tried hard and, much to his parents’ delight, his swimming began to improve. He would stay under longer, kick his feet, and blow bubbles, and he was doing it…he really was! When Colin got his medal on the last day of his swim lessons in June, he let his dad take a picture of him…and his beaming smile on his goggled face showed how proud of himself he was.
The very next day, Colin went with his family and some friends to a big pool that he’d never been to before. He was having a ball playing in the fountains and sprinklers with his friends, all while under the watchful eyes of several adults in his group and a number of lifeguards. In the shallow water, Colin demonstrated his improved swimming skills to his mother, who encouraged and applauded him for doing so well. The kids in his group moved around the pool together in a clump, playing and splashing and ducking in and out of the water. And then, in an instant, Colin wasn’t with them. Time stood still as their eyes swept the pool looking for him, and then, only moments later, he was pulled from the shallow water unconscious and not breathing. Efforts to revive him at the pool were unsuccessful, and Colin died at the hospital the next day, having never opened his eyes again after his swim.
Life changed forever that day for Colin’s family and friends. Their son…their brother… their grandson…their Buddy…one of the Three Amigos…was gone forever. The unimaginable not only happened, but it happened to their child. And they lost Colin not in a terrible car accident or to a merciless disease, but at a swimming pool on a beautiful summer day surrounded by people who loved him and were looking out for him. It was this fact that drove Colin’s family to start Colin’s Hope. They were shocked and amazed to learn that drowning is the number one cause of death for children under the age of 4! Fueled by their desire to prevent such a tragedy from happening time and time again to other children, they founded Colin’s Hope to promote water safety in their community and to educate children, parents and lifeguards on drowning prevention. Believing that a few simple tips and rules might make a difference in the life of another child keeps them passionate about their new purpose, and their angel Colin is guiding them every step of the way. Through their hope…and Colin’s hope…they are finding light in the darkness.
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