Spotsylvania Mom: 7-year-old died a hero - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Spotsylvania Mom: 7-year-old died a hero

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SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) -

Little 7-year-old Makayla died in a drowning accident on the Fourth of July. Her mother is speaking out for the first time. She says her daughter was trying to help a friend who was struggling in an area lake. It happened in the Wilderness 2 neighborhood in Spotsylvania. 

"It happened so fast," said Makayla's mother Ashli Eckler whose cries of despair could be heard from far away. "I just remember screaming and hollering at the top of my lungs. No! Not my baby."

Ashli and her daughter were inseparable. Makayla loved the water and was an avid swimmer. Mom says her little girl saw a friend struggling in the water and went over to help. The Fourth of July fireworks show was canceled due to the tragedy.

"It will never be the same," said Makayla's aunt Darlene. "Ashli...she did the right thing. She did swimming lessons. She did everything that any parent would do. She even had a float in the water." 

Mom is now working to honor her daughter's memory.

"I don't want anyone else to experience what I'm going through," said Ashli. "I want to start something in Makayla's name and be able to give the children in Spotsylvania swimming lessons that cannot afford it."

She is asking those who would like to help to email her at ashlieckler@gmail.com. Mom says it's her way of honoring her daughter's love of swimming.

"And I know she would just be floored if I was to do this for her," said Ashli. 

The family is planning a memorial for Makayla. It will be Saturday, September 6 on the lake. The family says they are hoping to have fireworks. 

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