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Overcoming the Open Water

Michelle Ellis discusses her family’s experience with Colin’s Hope

A few simple precautions have the ability to save someone’s life. This is something that rings true for Michelle Ellis.

“We lost our son, Nathan, at age 16. He drowned at Lake Georgetown on July 4th, 2017,” says Ellis. “Often, when there is a drowning reported on the news, someone in Families United to Prevent Drowning reaches out to see if you want the support of other parents who have experienced a similar loss.”

In August 2018, Ellis was introduced to Alissa Magrum, the then Executive Director of Colin’s Hope and current Strategic Advisor. Magrum offered Ellis’s family the opportunity to carve time out of their busy days and make a difference.

“The first event with Colin’s Hope that I was involved with was their annual kids’ triathlon. My then 10-year-old successfully completed it, while my two older sons and I volunteered wherever we were needed,” says Ellis. “It was right after the one-year anniversary of my son’s loss, and a very bittersweet experience.”

Ellis has since participated in the organization’s life jacket initiative at Mansfield Dam, arranged a presentation at Tom Glenn High School, and engaged in a day of awareness at the Capitol. An especially cathartic and inspiring experience came from the annual National Water Safety Conference.

“Losing your child is the hardest thing a human being can go through. Yet, if you are open to it, you have the ability to turn that tragedy into a driving force for positive change in your community,” says Ellis. “Colin’s Hope has impacted thousands of children and families in Central Texas. No one who volunteers with them will regret it.”

Colin’s Hope launched a site in 2022 called to share water safety resources. Consider their tips while at home or traveling the world.