MOORESVILLE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - "Go out and play," is just what 3-year-old Lance Shah was doing on a June afternoon in 2013, but it would be anything but happy.
Dr. Binit Shah says his son slipped out the sliding door from the kitchen into the backyard and within seconds, drowned in their family pool.
Lance's mother, Joanna, was in complete shock.
"You never think its going to happen to you," she told FOX 46. "You always look, you always care for them, you always try to protect them and it takes on second for something you just thought would never happen."
The heartache for Binit and Joanna runs deep, as it would for any parent who loses a child. But the couple wanted to turn their adversity into strength.
"We decided we wanted to see what a 3-year-old boy would love."
They found their answer: animals.
"They love to play with dogs and cats and go to the zoo. It's an excitement for them."
The Shah's started the Lance Shah Memorial Fund in their son's honor. It's a charity that raises money for animal shelters in the Mooresville-Iredell County area.
"We have to foster the next generation to be just as good or better than us," Binit said.
Binit and Joanna say this year's fundraiser will be a good time raising money for a good cause. They hope Lance will be smiling down from above.
"What I would want people to know is that you treasure every moment that you have with your children," Joanna said. "You never know when it's going to be the last."
Learn more about the Lance Shah Memorial Fund: https://www.lancefund.org/