Mother of drowned daughter uses her story to save lives through 'Bria's House' foundation


Deonesia Grays says her daughter drowned at a party in 2005. Since then, she has been using her story to help save lives.

Memorial Day weekend will always be tough for Grays.

"Where did I go wrong?" she asks.

This mother read from a journal Saturday as she visited the gravesite of her daughter, Bria Nicole Harvey, who was just four years old on May 29, 2005, when she drowned in an apartment complex pool while celebrating a friend's birthday.

"I didn't want any other parent to feel the pain that I felt, because it's not a pain a parent should feel," she said.

Loosing Bria was so painful, Grays thought she wouldn't survive it herself. But this mother of two turned her pain into a purpose.

"My main focus and goal is to save lives," she said.

So she created "Bria's House," a foundation that raises scholarship money to pay for swimming lessons for children whose parents can't afford it.

"I do fundraisers throughout the year and people donate so we're able to pay for them," Grays said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every five people who drown are children 14 and younger. So far, there have already been at least nine drowning deaths involving kids in the Houston area.

"This time is hard," Grays said. "This time this year, she passed away in 2005, but you have to move forward."

And for her, that means preventing something like this from happening again.

"I think if she would have known how to swim it would have made a big difference," Grays said.

This summer, Grays says she is holding an essay contest in which the winner receives free swimming lessons. For more on that contest and on her swimming safety efforts, visit

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