Sara Corinne was just 9 months old when she was fast asleep in the family van on Aug. 16, 2008.
The Marson family had just returned home from a funeral when tragic miscommunication nearly cost the youngster her life.
“My wife (Jessica) and I thought one of us or our boys (Justus, Jonas and Jerian) had taken the baby from the van, to the house and into her crib to finish her nap,” said Justin Marson, Sara Corinne’s father.
Three hours went by when the family’s worst nightmare was realized.
The baby was clinging to life inside the sweltering vehicle. She was rushed to the hospital where she was given three days to live.
Miraculously, Sara Corinne, now age 4, survived and has since recovered from most of her injuries. She did sustain some brain damage.
In the past four years, the youngster has made progress in her recovery.
Marson, who sat in the showroom of Manteca Ford and Exotic High Line with his daughter in tow last Wednesday, indicated that his family was lucky.
“Even the best of parents or caregivers can overlook a sleeping baby in a car,” he said. “The end result can be injury or even death.”
In the past five days, Marson pointed out that eight children reportedly died from being left inside a car.
“Thirty-eight die every year from something like this,” he said. “We need to raise awareness and educate people to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Sara Corinne is in need of special rehabilitation treatment to help her regain and learn new skills. Available is a facility in Toronto that specializes in case such as these called the Learning Independent Function Everyday or LIFE program.
Cost is estimated at $12,000, with Manteca Ford already donating $6,000 thanks to the Community Charity Sales Event.
Phil Waterford, owner of the local Ford dealership, is conducting this fundraiser consisting of $200 from every “good deal at a fair price” car sold.
The Community Charity Sales Event will continue through Thursday, Aug. 16.
“I had the opportunity to meet Justin after he put together a highlight video of my son, Eric,” Waterford said.
The younger Waterford is currently playing professional basketball overseas after wrapping up his collegiate career at Portland State. Phil Waterford learned of Sara Corinne after meeting Marson, who he looked at retaining his services for the dealership.
“I remembered asking him why he’s not in a bigger market with the talent he displayed over the years,” said Waterford.
Marson shared his life-changing experience that occurred some four years earlier.
Waterford decided to help out with the expenses to help cover Sara Corinne’s treatment, travel, and the family’s day-to-day household costs.
To raise awareness on the matter, Marson recommended logging on to www.kidsandcars.org.
For more information of the Community Charity Sales Event, call Manteca Ford, 555 N. Main St., at 209-239-3561.