Most moms I know would do anything for their kids, make any sacrifice necessary—even giving up their own lives. Such is the case with Chelsey Russell, a 33-year-old Colorado mom of two who gave her life earlier this week to save her 2-year-old son.
Gephardt Daily reports that Russell and some family members were boating on Lake Powell in Utah yesterday when Russell’s 2-year-old son fell overboard. His mom dove in the water after him as her family members struggled to stop the boat and then turn it back toward them.
Tragically, by the time Russell’s brother reached them in a smaller boat he had detached from the large boat, Russell was unconscious. However, she had miraculously been able to hold her 2-year-old above water.
“She was still, for whatever reason, able to keep the baby on her chest, whether conscious or unconscious,” San Juan County Sherriff Rick Eldredge said.
Russell’s brother grabbed his nephew and got him into the boat, then pulled Chelsey in, beginning CPR. Others tried to revive her at the nearby Marina for a total of 30 minutes, but Chelsey Russell’s young life was gone, her last act the rescue of her son. Neither were wearing life jackets. Her son was taken to the hospital, but released soon after.
The law firm where Russell was a lawyer, Welborn, Sullivan, Meck & Tooley, had this to say about Russell on their website: “Chelsey was an amazing mother, an exceptional legal talent, an extraordinary athlete, a loyal and generous friend, and left us all better for knowing her. She is sorely missed.”
I am inspired by Chelsey Russell’s rescue of and sacrifice for her son, but I pray her death will be a reminder to all of us about how important life jackets are for us and our kids when we are boating or engaging in other activities in water. My own husband sails sail boats, and our kids are not allowed aboard without life jackets, no matter how good of swimmers they are. I know life jackets can be bulky, hot, and inconvenient, and wrestling a toddler into one can be almost impossible. But it’s worth the lives saved, every time.
Our prayers go out to the Russell family, especially her two kids who will be missing their mama.