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Why your friends and family may be soaking themselves in public

By Brittany Binowski

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, July 2 2014 11:20 a.m. MDT

Paul DelleGrazie shows his son, Pauly, some love before the accident.

Gianna Greco DelleGrazie, Facebook

Enlarge photo»

A tractor dumps an entire bucket of water onto a person beneath it.

Another person jumps into a garbage can full of ice.

A young professional pours a pitcher of water over her head in Bryant Park.

These are just a few of the scenes you will find in a series of recent videos raising awareness for drowning-related deaths.

The videos, created in honor of Pauly DelleGrazie, a 4-year-old boy who drowned on June 14 at a country-club pool in the suburbs of Chicago, all feature scenes of individuals dousing themselves with cold water in public places — and then challenging a few of their friends to do the same.

According to DelleGrazie’s aunt, Stephanie Greco, friends and family created the videos spontaneously to honor the young boy.

“He was a big kid who was loud, vivacious and not afraid of anything,” she said.

The accident happened in plain sight while many people were around.

“You picture drowning to be like in the movies where people yell and scream,” Greco said. “But it happens silently where they just slip underneath the water.”

Family members who were at the pool when the drowning occurred were taken by surprise when they realized what had happened.

In a Facebook message by the boy’s father, Paul DelleGrazie, he writes, “Words can’t describe the pain my family is going through. This is beyond comprehension that this happened to us … we were robbed of our Pauly. There isn’t a second that goes by that he doesn’t cross our minds.”

A study by the CDC found that drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 other than birth defects. The family hopes to raise awareness for this cause and help prevent other families from experiencing the same loss.

Because of the overwhelming response the family has received from these videos, they have created the Pauly D Foundation, which is accepting donations to give to other families experiencing similar losses.

Here are a few of the videos friends and families have created in memory of Pauly D:

At Bryant Park in New York City...

On a restaurant rooftop...

In American flag print shorts...

Reclining in a lawn chair...

And for the grand finale...

Brittany Binowski is a senior Web producer for Deseret National. You may contact her at bbinowski@deseretdigital.com.

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