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MK Mom Laura Metro

A family trauma left this mom with a drowning-prevention mission




Maison, Mathhew, Clay, Laura

Laura Metro has the perfect name to be an MK mom. The DC resident and her family became honorary Delawareans three years ago, when her son Clay (now 6) nearly drowned in a pool in front of his sister, Maison (now 9), during a Bethany Beach vacation. Local responders administered CPR and Clay was MedEvaced to Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, where he recovered with next to no lasting brain damage. The ordeal left Laura and husband Matthew with a mission. Their C.L.A.Y. Foundation promotes a float-first swim method and provides accredited instructors to teach CPR to parents at local in-home “parties.” 

About Laura's family. "For most of the school year, the Metros can be found on various soccer fields, basketball courts or hiking in Great Falls Park. In the summer, you will find us mostly at the pool, as Maison  is an excellent swimmer on the swim team. This year, Clay is joining the swim team too! Clay loves to eat dinosaur chicken nuggets and avocado. Maison like to eat sliders with buns and cucumbers with ranch. We all, except for Dad, have a major sweet tooth!"

About Laura's water-safety crusade. "After the dust settled, I began to get intensely interested in drowning prevention and CPR, mostly because I felt totally blindsided when this happened to us. I quickly realized how Clay had truly beaten the odds. In fact, there really was no reason he was alive. Not only was he alive; he also had almost no lasting brain damage from the accident. Later, I realized how extremely rare Clay’s outcome was. I began to feel that Clay’s life was a 'gift' and that it was my responsibility to give back."

Why the C.L.A.Y. Foundation focuses attention on the siblings of drowning victims. "Unfortunately, our daughter was the one who was most severely affected by the accident. Not only did she witness what happened to Clay, but she also saw the raw emotion as her parents came into the scene. After experiencing this trauma she was 'abandoned' by her parents, as I got on a helicopter and my husband got in the car to drive two hours to the hospital. It was horrible for her. However, she has come a very long way with a combination of treatments and a new school. This past school year has been the best yet. We would love to see more people submitting their children’s artwork, poems, etc. to info@theclayfoundation.org so we can add them to our site and social media pages. For every death by drowning there are two near-death drowning events . . . that’s a lot of siblings who need a place to express themselves in a healthy way." 

How are Clay and Maison doing today? "Maison is doing the best she ever has, and we are ecstatic about that! We are at [Bethany Beach] and pool all the time, as my father and stepmother live there. Plus, the firefighters and EMS team that saved Clay are there as well. We feel very rooted in that community. Clay is now experiencing some issues that may be a result of the accident or may not be; we’ll never really know. Things like nightmares, increased anxiety, mood swings and minor sensory issues. From what we understand this could be partly related to him processing the drowning. However, all of these things could have been present prior to the accident and just coming out now. Mother’s instinct tells me it’s a combination of pre-existing conditions and processing the accident."

About their Delaware TLC. "I could go on and on and on about the amazing care we received at A.I. duPont Nemours Hospital for Children. Not only was the staff extremely knowledgeable and experienced but everyone treated us with the utmost respect and personal care. They would always address us as 'Mom' and 'Dad.' And everyone would say one phrase, “Do you have any more questions?” We always did have more questions and they were always happy to spend the time to answer them. The hospital will forever have a place in our hearts, and I hope to work with them through the C.L.A.Y. Foundation or our other entity, WINK Bags, very soon."

"The Millville fire company men and women were the talented people who saved Clay. Post his accident, they received all of the statewide awards for Clay’s save. We have remained in close contact with all of them and will be launching CPR Parties in their area this spring."

Why she believes in in-home CPR parties. "Bystander CPR was the reason Clay survived, and afterward I was a bit ashamed that I didn’t know CPR. I looked into it and found the two biggest deterrents to learning CPR are money and time. I began to brainstorm how I could take those two factors out of the equation and the CPR party was born. The response has been incredible. Right now we are booking 30 days out, and with May being National Water Safety Month and June being CPR/AED Awareness Month, we’re expecting to get even more interest.  We’re ready to bring CPR to the masses, so bring it on."  

About “FloatFirst” and the C.L.A.Y. Foundation's scholarship program. "The C.L.A.Y. Foundation believes that every child (and adults too!) should have an opportunity to learn to FloatFirst. We help in this effort by providing FloatFirst scholarships for economically disadvantaged children ages 6 months to 4 years to learn to FloatFirst, then swim. The C.L.A.Y. Foundation does not endorse a particular swim curriculum. However, we do advocate that children and adults learn the skill to FloatFirst as soon as your child can crawl. People interested in applying for a FloatFirst scholarship or anyone interested in being listed as a provider of FloatFirst swim lessons should e-mail info@theclayfoundation.org. We are always looking for instructors who want to train in the FloatFirst method.  The demand is rising fast."  

For more water-safety tools and information, check out the Families United to Prevent Drowning Facebook page and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. Learn more about FloatFirst and how to book a mom’s-night CPR home party at Clayfoundation.org

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