In The News


Tampa Bay Online - Trinity mom promotes pool safety after losing child in drowning

Tampa Bay Online - Firms make a splash to help prevent drowning

WTSP 10 Tampa Story on Kaitlyn Foundation - Child watcher program designed to prevent drownings

BayNews 9 Story - Mother on a Mission

Katelyn Foundation to hold event to benefit swim programs at YMCAs - Times Staff Writer, Sunday, April 5, 2009


"Katelyn Foundation donates scholarship" - Milford Weekly - June 14, 2007 & New Haven Register - 10/07

"Family launches memorial child safety foundation" - Connecticut Post - October 2, 2006

"After grieving, a new reality" - St. Petersburg Times - December 3, 2006

Katelyn Foundation to hold event to benefit swim programs at YMCAs

A foundation that began in honor of a 2-year-old girl who drowned in a pool at home is holding a benefit to help underprivileged families pay for swim lessons and pool safety equipment. The Katelyn Foundation, named after the toddler who died in 2004, is holding "Night in Naples" from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on May 8 at PDK Banquet Hall, 11301 Phi Delta Way. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for kids. The event includes a pasta dinner, an auction and entertainment. Sponsorships include two free tickets to the event. All proceeds will be donated to the Open Doors program at local YMCAs. For more information, call Sandra Testo-Michaud at (727) 434-2417.

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Summer is just around the corner and we are looking for your help to save lives! Join the Katelyn Foundation at our First Annual pasta dinner " A Night In Naples" fundraiser on Friday May 8, 2009 for a fun filled evening with an amazing home cooked Italian meal, entertainment, Chinese auction and a lot of surprises to make this a very special event.

Location is the PDK Banquet Hall 11301 Phi Delta Way, Odessa, FL 33566 (Next to Roi's Dance Land on SR 54) about 2 miles west of Gunn Hwy on the right hand side. 5:30 to 10:00 pm.

ADULT: $15.00
CHILD under 10: $10.00

The Katelyn Foundation a 501 (c) (3) non profit was formed in memory of Katelyn T. Michaud who was only two years old when her life was tragically cut short in a swimming pool accident five years ago.

Currently, The Katelyn Foundation donates to The Open Doors program within the local YMCA's, which is a program that provides swim lessons to underpriveleged families. We are also VERY excited to announce that The Katelyn Foundation recently partnered up with the New Port Richey and Aquatic Center to provide swimming lessons to local underprivileged youth during the summer months.

Our goal this summer is to help more than 250 families achieve the piece of mind of knowing that their child can swim. Florida is "The Sunshine State", but there's a dark side too! Did you know that Florida has some of the highest rates in the nation for incidents of swimming pool accidents and deaths? Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death to children under the age of five! Please help us reduce this horrific statistic by donating to The Katelyn Foundation. The cost to help save a child's life is only $35 per child. For the price of dinner out, YOU can teach a child to swim.

We hope you will consider donating to our event with sponsorship, gift certificate or gift basket and that you will join us at the table and celebrate the success of "THE KATELYN FOUNDATION" in saving lives!

For more information please call Sandra Testo-Michaud, Director/President of The Katelyn Foundation, Inc  email her. We look forward to seeing you May 8th.

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"Katelyn Foundation donates scholarship " - Milford Weekly

In Local News section
Published June 14, 2007

Recently, the Katelyn Foundation donated a scholarship to the Woodruff Family YMCA for swimming lessons and water safety. The Katelyn Foundation was started after 2-year-old Katelyn Michaud died in a swimming pool accident on January 27, 2004. In response to her death, The Katelyn Foundation for child safety awareness was founded by her mother, Sandra Testo-Michaud and her uncle, Robert J. Testo, III to honor her memory and prevent the loss or serious injury of other children.

For more information about swimming lessons, contact 878-6501 or visit cccymca.org. For more information about the Katelyn Foundation, go to Katelynfoundation.org.


Back left: Katelyn Foundation officers Rob Testo and Sandy Testo-Michaud, along with Woodruff Family YMCA executive director Charlie Clifford. Front: Katelyn's older sister, Lexi Michaud presenting a check to the Woodruff Family YMCA.

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"Family launches memorial child safety foundation" - Connecticut Post

In Neighbor to Neighbor section
Published October 2, 2006

No parent should have to experience the heartbreak of serious injury to or loss of a child. No family should have to bear the far-reaching emotional burden.

The lives of SandraTesto-Michaud, a Milford native, and her family changed forever with the tragic loss of Sandra's 2-year-old daughter, Katelyn, in a swimming pool accident. In memory of Katelyn – and in a mission to educate the public about risk factors and child safety measures – Sandra, uncle Robert J. Testo III, family and friends have launched the Katelyn Foundation.

The organization's goals are:
• Public awareness and educational campaigns to highlight hidden yet prevalent injurious or death-threatening situations that may lead to the serious injury or death of a child.
• Educational seminars for parents, parents-to-be, and children on matters of child safety.
• Communication and partnering with local, regional and national organizations and policymakers to promote child safety legislation.
• Financial assistance, counseling and other support services for framilies coping with the loss of a child.

Testo plans to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 29 to initiate and seed the budget to develop and launch The Katelyn Foundation awareness programs. To sponsor the run or to assist with other fundraising, contact the organization at: The Katelyn Foundation Inc., c/o RJ Testo, 50 Cherry St., Suite F, Milford CT 06460;  e-mail info@katelynfoundation.org. or visit www.katelynfoundation.org

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"After grieving, a new reality" - St. Petersburg Times

Published December 3, 2006

TRINITY - The kids at school called her a liar.

Lexi Michaud's third-grade classmates at Trinity Elementary School were skeptical of the 8-year-old's story. So she decided to bring proof. "I need to bring a photo of Katelyn," she asked her mother, Sandra. "For what?" Sandra said. "I just need one," Lexi said.

Sandra called the school to find out why. A teacher said classmates were taunting Lexi about the death of her sister, Katelyn, who drowned in the family pool nearly three years ago. The kids thought Lexi made it up. A photo of the cheerful toddler stifled the pint-sized naysayers. But proving her classmates wrong didn't ease the pain.

This is a story of what grief leaves behind, of finding ways to face the world after the funeral, of patching a hole in your heart as life lurches forward. For the Michauds, the healing process meant building a house a mile from the large marble wall that houses Katelyn's ashes, and gathering the courage to take another dip in the family pool.

* * *

On Jan. 27, 2004, Sandra checked phone messages while Katelyn ate cookies and milk and watched TV. Soon, she discovered Katelyn missing. The house's rear sliding glass door was ajar. Sandra rushed outside and found Katelyn floating near the deep end of the pool.

The moments after are a blur. Sandra raced to a hospital, where Katelyn died. Hours later, someone placed 5-year-old Lexi on her lap. "I said, 'Honey, Katelyn is no longer with us,' " Sandra recalled. "She said, 'Mommy, does that mean you have one little girl now?' "

For Sandra, guilt rushed in like a flood.

What if I hadn't listened to those messages? What if I hadn't answered the phone?

In the months after Katelyn's death, Sandra's already-strained marriage buckled. She needed someone to talk to, she said, and her husband became more withdrawn. The two divorced. Lexi landed in both grief and divorce counseling at school and hospice camp for grieving kids. Close to their hearts are memories of the girl Lexi played Barbies with, who mugged for the camera in family photos, dressed in hues of pink.

About a mile beyond Trinity Memorial Gardens, where Katelyn's ashes are stored in the large marble wall, Sandra is building a home for her and Lexi. The moment she saw a sign for the subdivision, she felt drawn to be there. "I don't want to say it gets easier, but I have a place for her in my heart, always," Sandra said. "No matter what, she's around us all the time."

Family faces its fear

A few months after Katelyn's death, Sandra and Lexi came home from a boating trip with a neighbor. They decided to take a swim in the pool -- the same pool in which Katelyn died. "It wasn't the pool that killed my daughter," Sandra said. "I had to prove to my (then) 5-year-old that it's okay to get into the water."

For kids who have lost a sibling, it's important to face those situations and talk about their feelings, said Philip Fauerbach, a family therapist. "The big difference is that in her life, she will recognize that you can lose someone," he said. "It's going to be a fact of life, a lesson learned, but an unfortunate lesson."

At times Lexi thinks about her sister. She feels lonely. She cries. "But now I feel better because I got some people that (are) cheering me on!" she wrote in blue magic marker in a letter to a reporter. They're even building a pool in their new house.

Katelyn's legacy

The marble wall at Trinity Memorial Gardens is cluttered with names emblazoned in gold. One reads, "Katelyn T. Michaud, Dec. 19, 2001 - Jan. 27, 2004. Our precious little angel." Red and gold poinsettias sit in a vase near the marker. In a few weeks, Sandra and Lexi will release a dozen balloons into the sky at the cemetery, a tradition on Katelyn's birthday.

Sandra busies herself with the Katelyn Foundation, a nonprofit she and her brother started to provide scholarships for kids and child-proofing devices for homes. She goes to counseling and wants to start a crisis center for people who have lost a loved one. "If I sat and did nothing," she said, "I'd cry over her."

Lexi is a well-adjusted, chatty cheerleader who's tall for her age. She often speaks of Katelyn in the present tense. She continues to make new friends. Sandra calls their parents to explain Katelyn's death. She fears they, too, will think Lexi is lying.

Lexi has developed a close bond with her new best friend. This girl listens as Lexi talks about her sister and hugs her when she's down.

Her name is Caitlin.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at (727) 869-6229 or cspencer@sptimes.com.

© Copyright 2002-2006, St. Petersburg Times

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