When The Safety Institute was founded last winter, Survivor Services were at the center of our mission. Today, with the launch of TSI’s YouTube channel and release of our first Survivor’s Story video, we bring these real stories of survival and perseverance to the public.
The first video (see below) features Derek Frechette of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, recounting the events that led to the drowning death of his four-year-old son Christian.
It is the courage of Derek Frechette and his family, along with others who have joined forces as members of The Safety Institute’s Survivors Network that we honor today. It took Derek and his family five years, but they were able to work in memory of Christian to bring about a key policy change in Massachusetts that will protect children at day camps from drowning risks.
Some of TSI’s other Survivors have lost loved ones in car crashes, all-terrain vehicle rollovers, or medical errors. Others have endured, and recovered from, a range of unintentional injuries that may have been prevented. All have compelling stories to tell. These are folks whose lives have been forever changed and who want to let the rest of society know that these tragedies can be stopped, that those who grieve and suffer are not alone, and that help is available.
In the weeks to come, we will be posting additional videos that recount the ways survivors have turned tragedy into positive action. Sometimes change comes slowly, as it did for Derek Frechette. Other times, solutions to injury problems remain elusive after years of research. We invite others to send us their stories and contact our Survivors Network.
Shortly after TSI was founded we learned that the Centers for Disease Control was planning to begin its own Storytelling Project to demonstrate the need for sound injury prevention and control policies. We invite the CDC and others to share our videos with their partners, and hope that the stories of Derek Frechette and the other TSI Survivors will compel the CDC to reverse its recent decision to cut $3 million in injury prevention funding to eight state public health departments. Funding for these states is a crucial component to improving public health in the U.S. Expect to hear more from TSI about this, in the meantime, please watch Derek’s story and learn more about our Survivors Network at www.thesafetyinstitute.org.