Mother who lost daughter when she drowned gives away 300 life jackets

YAKIMA, WA - After the tragic loss of her daughter, one local woman is helping others keep their children safe in the water.

"Life Jackets for Christine" will be giving away 300 life jackets in Yakima Saturday at Lion's Pool. The event will go on from ten in the morning to one. 

"I went to a camp about four years ago and she unfortunately drowned in Cle Elum," said Lori Bethaly, mother of Christine.

Lori Bethaly was the mother of 8-year-old Christine. One day while her daughter was at camp, Lori received the tragic news her daughter had drowned.

Lori says she was told while playing in the lake, Christine hit a drop-off in the water.

"My daughter drowned while not wearing a life jacket, and had she had one on we certainly could have had a different outcome," said Bethaly.

Four years later, she has partnered with Yakima Parks and Recreation, as well as Astria Health. Together, they will give away 300 life jackets: something Lori helps make sure another family doesn't go through what she did.

"I've always said for the last two years we'll never know how many children we save but we'll certainly know the number of children that drown without a life jacket," said Bethaly.

This event will not only give children free life jackets, it will also teach them how to use them during emergencies.

"If you're in a situation where you're overcome by water or current how to get on your back to yell for help so somebody can assist them. The buddy system, so never swimming alone," said Jason Zeller, recreation supervisor.

Lori says this is a way to honor her daughter and the first step to helping prevent drownings.

"I can't tell you the overwhelming feeling I get of saving someone else's child. Do I wish it was my own? Absolutely. Could a life jacket have changed her event? Probably," said Bethaly.

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