Qwentyn Hunter
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​Qwentyn Hunter's Story 
By Tashara and Caselle Hunter

October 13, 2013 remains one of the darkest days of our lives. Our family of five was enjoying the last day of our Carnival cruise in the Caribbean when tragedy struck in a matter of minutes: our six-year-old son Qwentyn drowned in a pool. We wish we didn't have to share this familiar story with you.

Although it breaks our hearts, we have come to terms with the fact that we got distracted and let this happen. So much can happen in a matter of seconds. Accidents happen, and that's why we couldn't believe that most cruise lines do not employ lifeguards on ships. With all the activities occurring on a ship deck at any given time, we believe that properly trained lifeguards -- acting as an extra set of eyes and ears -- will help to save more kids' lives. 

We are still mourning the loss of Qwentyn, who was such a brilliant kid. We started to work to ensure that other people would hopefully never have to experience this tragedy that we have had to endure. We started a Change.org petition to call on ask Carnival Corporation and the cruise line industry to employ mandatory lifeguards to provide greater passenger safety onboard ships. 

Since then, more than 80,000 people have joined our campaign, we've gone on The TODAY Show to speak about our fight, and we've worked together to make sure this important issue isn't overlooked. Our work prompted Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to recently state that they are continuing to assess the need for lifeguards on ships, among other things.

I'm asking you to join us in this pursuit by sharing your story through a similar petition and helping us gain global support of this campaign. Please contact us at [email protected] to discuss how we might be able to work together toward this pursuit. We'd love to get any help that you can offer to get this done.

There's no time to wait. Research shows that nearly two million passengers under 18 board cruises each year. Many of you all can probably relate to the distracting nature of the deck -- music, people, water activity, entertainment and noise are all constant. Despite this, only Disney puts lifeguards on its ships, a decision made shortly after our son's passing. The cruise industry had a revenue of nearly $40 billion in 2013, so why can't it require that companies hire lifeguards to ensure greater safety?

As victims of cruise line incidents, we have the chance to try to fight for an important change that could potentially save many lives in the future. Make no mistake, parental supervision should always be a priority, but it's clear to us and many others that the presence of lifeguards can only help to protect lives. Let's come together to tell the industry to put passenger safety ahead of profits.