Duncansville couple warns other parents: 'It only takes a second'
DUNCANSVILLE -- The Mathernes call their son Adam their "miracle child," and have a message for other parents about keeping a close eye on their children.
"Adam loved to get into everything. He was daring and adventurous, and just was your typical 14-month-old kid," Shannon Matherne said about her son.
That was until June 5 of this year, which is a difficult day for her and her husband, Rickey Matherne, to relive.
"It was a typical day. The door was opening, and closing a bunch, so we didn't think anything of it," Shannon remembered.
The family of seven had family members visiting for their 18-year-old's graduation, and they were all getting ready to leave for a softball game.
They have alarms on their French doors in order to alert the family in case Adam were to ever wander outside. Since family was over, and no one was playing out by the pool that day, it was the one time they turned the alarms off.
Shannon said they turned their backs on the doors for just a moment, "and he just slipped out. It truly was what people call an accident," she said
They quickly realized Adam was gone.
The family has a pink tent next to a set of French doors in the living room that lead outside to the pool area.
"I thought he was in the tent, so I went over to the tent, and that's when I knew he wasn't there. I looked up, and I could see him in the pool. He was floating face down," she said.
It wasn't long before they called 911, and emergency crews did their best to revive him after he'd drowned.
"They worked on him for 45 minutes," his mother remembered.
"It wasn't until the priest came in and baptized him and anointed his forehead that the heartbeat came back on the monitor," she said.
They said Adam is now their miracle baby, but he still suffers and the parents said he'll probably never be the same.
"When you come home and you see all the things that he had like his bike, just small things, it hurts," Shannon said.
Rickey said Adam has shown improvement though after a few rounds of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, an experimental treatment.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure, the clinic's website says.
The Mathernes have to travel to Louisiana for the treatments, and it's not covered by their insurance. They said they'd like to get a chamber for Adam to have right at home in Duncansville. Rickey said they're looking at tens of thousands of dollars.
"Those are all things we want to do within the next year. It's not like we do it this year and it goes away."
Friends and family have set up a fundraiser at the Duncansville Community Center Saturday, Oct. 14 to raise money this weekend to help off-set these costs. The Mathernes said it's a vendor fair from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The whirlwind of the last few months has left the couple with one simple message for all other parents.
"It takes a second. It literally takes a second."