Parents of 6-year-old who drowned at Altadena camp launch online series to protect other children

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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The parents of a 6-year-old girl who drowned at an Altadena summer camp are on a mission to prevent more drowning tragedies.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In the two years since their 6-year-old daughter Roxie drowned at a summer camp in Altadena, Doug Forbes and Elena Matyas say every day is spent weeping and working.

"Drowning is something people think won't happen to them, won't happen to their children, until it does," Matyas said.

Forbes and Matyas are grieving the loss of their bubbly, bright little girl. But they're also working to make sure no family experiences their devastating loss.

"We should not outlive our children, our 6-year-old daughter," Forbes said. "But unfortunately, we have. So we had a choice to kind of curl up in a ball and do nothing or wake up and do something. So that's why we're here."

As a result of their efforts, the state of California now recognizes the third week in May as "Roxie's Wish: Drowning Prevention Week for Children."

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Beginning Saturday, Forbes and Matyas will air a seven-part series online to promote drowning prevention. They're hoping to one day bring this curriculum into local schools.

"The work that we do is extraordinarily hard," Forbes said. "But what choice do we have?"

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.

Drowning Prevention Week episodes will air on the family's website and YouTube page, Meow Meow Foundation.

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"Roxie's in my heart, and Roxie is saying 'Mom, you got to keep going, you got to keep fighting for me and for my friends,'" Matyas said.