DENVER (KDVR) — A local family is using its tragedy to prevent another.

Almost four years ago, a family experienced an unimaginable loss after 9-year-old Yevaeh Patrick-Moon drowned while at a sleepover in a Colorado Springs hotel. Now, the family is turning pain into purpose.

Her grandmother, Lotta Todd, said the traumatic experience, combined with her own experience as a water safety instructor is what compelled her to write a children’s book so that this never happens again.

The book is called “The First Splish Splash” and focuses on water safety. Todd has been a swim instructor for over 20 years. She said she was teaching her granddaughter how to swim, not long before she died.

“It can happen to anyone,” Todd said adding, “just because a person knows how to swim does not mean that they cannot drown.”

Todd is throwing a lifeline so to speak, to prevent a wave of preventable deaths in the water, especially to those who are most vulnerable.

“So the book is inspiring for everyone,” Todd said. “But unfortunately, African Americans are drowning at a higher rate than other nationalities.”

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed, over an 11-year period, Blacks ages 5 to 19 were 5.5 times more likely to drown than whites, in the same age group. 

“So this is way bigger than you know, one drowning, we have so many people out there drowning and certain nationalities are drowning at a higher rate than others,” Todd explained.

A family forever grieving is using their pain to prevent another tragedy.

Todd is not just a swim coach, she’s a lifeguard, and a member of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and Drowning Prevention Coalition in Arizona.

There’s a book launch open to the public Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5.

Saturday’s will be at Brother Jeff’s from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. That’s located at 2836 Welton St. in Denver.

Sunday’s will be at the Barnes and Noble in Glendale at 960 S. Colorado Blvd.

Todd hopes families can come out to learn about swim safety so that no family goes through what hers went through, with the loss of 9-year-old Yevaeh.