Every milestone little Malachi reaches is a blessing.
“The prognosis was not good,” said his mother, Trisha Bernal. “He was definitely not expected to survive. But he's a fighter."
On July 3, 2020, Trisha Bernal was at work while her husband and Malachi, 4, were at a friend’s house celebrating the holiday weekend.
“My husband was cooking dinner, they were at a friend's house and all the kids were playing inside while dinner was being cooked and Malachi snuck outside and ended up in the pool,” Bernal said.
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After realizing Malachi was missing, Bernal said they looked for him everywhere until finding him at the bottom of the pool.
“CPR was started immediately,” Bernal said. “The ambulance was called and as soon as they got there they took over CPR and he had a pulse before being transported to the hospital.”
At the hospital, the family learned their happy, active, and playful son’s life had forever changed.
“If you look at tv or in the movies and you see someone who drowned, they either die or CPR happens and they cough up water and instantly they are better,” Bernal said. “And that's just not how it works out.”
Malachi was diagnosed with an anoxic brain injury. Doctors told Bernal her little boy would never walk or talk again, but she hasn't lost hope.
“If he were to smile again, I’m sure I would just be through the roof,” she said. “Hopefully one day that'll happen. We’re doing all we can so that it happens."
She’s enlisted him in numerous therapies. Meanwhile, she's doing what she can to raise awareness among parents about the dangers surrounding bodies of water.
“The thing with drowning, it's a silent killer," Bernal said. “You're trained as a parent to hear sounds and respond to an emergency based on sounds but in a drowning accident, it's silent. There's nothing to alert you to danger.”
She hopes her message prevents any other family from going through what hers has had to.
The CDC said three children die in drowning accidents every day. For each drowning death, there are about eight near-drowning incidents.
Friends of the Bernal family have created a Facebook page where you can find updates on Malachi's condition.