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The Two River Times
"A Tragedy Averted Inspires a Family to Save Lives"

By Lisa Merlini

LITTLE SILVER-Farley Snow Boyle said she now divides her life into two parts: before August 27, and after. On August 27, Boyle said, the day after I got back from hospital after giving birth to my third child, my two-year-old almost drowned in our backyard. Boyle, wife and mother of three daughters, had just come home from the hospital the day before after giving birth to her third daughter, Abigail. It was a hot summer day, Boyle said, and her husband Patrick and her father decided to take the two older girls, Mackenzie, 4, and Chase, 2, out for a day of fishing. After a trip to the bait and tackle shop, the foursome set out to the dock and boat behind their home on Little Silver Point Road, and prepared for a day out on the Shrewsbury River. My parents were in from Florida,Boyle said, and they were just trying to get my two older daughters out of the house so I could relax with our new daughter. Basically, what started out as a little adventure completely went south. Once they got down to the dock, Boyle said, her father and husband were putting all the new tackle in their tackle boxes and tying a new anchor line to the boat. Mackenzie was playing with her new net on the dock, and Chase was getting her hands in the tackle box. Chase's grandfather decided to put her in the boat, where she normally could be counted on to play with the radio and pretend to drive, thinking it would be the safest spot for her. Chase, though, Boyle said, had other ideas. She saw Mackenzie playing with the net and wanted to join her. So she climbed over the edge of the boat and slipped between the boat and the dock, right into the water. She was feet first, Boyle said, so she must have just slid in without a sound. There's usually a lot of sloshing there between the boat and the dock, so no one would have heard her go in anyway, but somehow, Mackenzie must have noticed her go in out of the corner of her eye. And instead of just turning back to what she was doing, she totally did not lose her train of thought and told my husband that Chase was in the water and wasn't swimming. My father said he saw one of her arms floating back up to the surface and pulled her out of the water, and thankfully my husband and I had taken an optional CPR class that I had signed us up for when I was pregnant with my first child. Her husband first performed the Heimlich maneuver on their daughter, followed by CPR, and managed to get 80 percent of the water out of Chase's lungs before she went to the hospital, Boyle said. As a result, Chase suffered no brain damage.

What people don't understand in this area, Boyle said, or anywhere really, is that you can effectively get pulled out of the water and still drown on dry land if someone doesn't effectively remove the water from your body. From that day forward, Boyle knew that infant CPR could no longer be just an option; it had to be made mandatory. So, with the guidance of Kimberly Ambrose and the Little Silver First Aid squad that were the first on the scene that day, Boyle formed a non-profit organization called CHASE for Life. The acronym CHASE, which stands for CPR-Heimlich Awareness Safety Education, fit perfectly.

Through CHASE for Life, Boyle hopes to raise awareness on a nationwide scale by providing schools and hospitals with a one-hour instructional video and class for new parents, teachers and essentially anyone that works with or even near children on a day-to-day basis. It should be part of every parents basic knowledge of how to safely and effectively care for their child, Boyle said. You leave the pharmacy with a new pill and all over the bottle are instructions like take on an empty stomach or don't mix with other drugs. You leave the hospital with a new life, and you have almost no instruction on how to care for that life, that person. So I'm trying to make it mandatory in hospitals that first time parents, before they are discharged with their newborn, have to take a practical aspects course while they are still in the hospital, or at least watch an instructional video. Boyle said she hopes to start working on that video next week, and hopes to get Monmouth Medical Hospital, that just opened its own children's wing, on board as their organization's platform hospital. Three other hospitals in New York City are already planning on running the video on their television monitors.

We're trying to make this information available to anyone,Boyle said, from siblings above the age of seven who can retain this information and re-enact what they've learned all the way up to grandparents that might be watching their grandchildren every weekend. We're going to make this information free and readily available to anyone through workshops and clinics and in-home clinics. Drownings happen all year round, not just in summer, Boyle said, and close to 75 percent of them occur at home in about an inch and a half of water. If a person retains only 20 percent of what they learned in a CPR class,Boyle said, they have an 80 percent chance of saving their child's life. You don't have to be certified to save a child's life, Boyle said. That's something most people don't know, and they should. Kids are so much easier to bring back than adults. They're just looking for a spark of life, so even if you do something incorrectly, it's 100 times better than doing nothing at all.

CHASE for Life is hosting a free workshop at Little Silver's Markham Place and Little Silver Point Road schools on April 19 for all parents of students, and will be hosting another clinic at St. John's School on March 24. Other free clinics are already set up for the schools in Fair Haven on April 20, at the Learning Tree on March 31 and at the Creative Learning Center on April 11. Oceanport and Shrewsbury are next on her list, and she hopes Red Bank, Rumson, Long Branch and Asbury Park will sign up, too.

And through connections Boyle made during her modeling career, through her work on a show called Runway Moms on the Discovery health Network, she is hoping to film a one-hour documentary about CHASE for Life. The one call Boyle is waiting for, though, is a call from Oprah, a call that Boyle said would do wonders both for the organization and the need to address the problem on a national level. To volunteer or make a donation, or to simply get information on how to save a child's life, log onto www.chaseforlife.org.

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