Our son Andrew Alton Dowley was an amazing 2 ½ year old child. At 2 years old, Andrew participated in a research program at Kennedy Krieger to help identify effective learning strategies for children. The test proctors were astonished to uncover Andrew’s cognitive abilities were that of a 3 ½ year old. For a young boy Andrew knew more about vehicles than most. Andrew’s sense for detail was remarkable. Bob Cats to Cement Mixers, Fire Trucks to Ambulances, he could even distinguish the difference by the sound of the siren. Andrew’s favorite Disney movie was Cars. He pretended he was Lightning McQueen going to California. He was an eager little helper, it did not matter if it was with laundry, putting groceries away, tending to the garden, or doing anything in the kitchen. Andrew would push his stool over to the counter so that he could watch and help. He thrived to be a part of everything. One night Andrew’s daddy came home after a softball game, he heard the truck and opened the front door. He was so excited to see daddy. Andrew shouted, “Mommy, mommy, daddy’s home…and he got pizza!” I think the whole neighborhood heard.
On July 23, 2009, after playing all morning with close family friends, Andrew went down for a nap. He never woke up from his nap. We waited 6 months for an answer and still do not know why. Since Andrew was over the age of 1; his passing is not considered Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Instead, it belongs to a lesser known category, Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) which occurs when an apparently healthy child beyond the age of 12 months dies without warning and without a known cause found after a thorough investigation. Soon after our loss we learned of The SUDC Foundation, which provided us with crucial support services, information and access to research. It is the only program in the world devoted solely to supporting families affected by SUDC and advocating for SUDC research to find answers. While The SUDC Foundation is making progress, much work remains ahead.
We have created this event in memory of our son Andrew to raise awareness for SUDC and help bring about a future where no family ever has to experience SUDC again.
~ Pete and Julie Dowley