SUDC Insights

SUDC Insights is the official blog of the SUDC Foundation which shares and discusses issues important to the understanding and the ultimate prevention of SUDC. If you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed in SUDC Insights, please let us know at

Stephanie Zarecky

Stephanie lost her first and only daughter, Scarlett, in January 2017 when she was just 16 months old. Being Scarlett’s Mama, as well as Mama to Scarlett’s little sister, Eliana, is Stephanie’s favorite and most important job. Stephanie has spent over a decade of her career working in communications, public policy and nonprofit advocacy. Stephanie is the Ambassador Program and Public Relations Manager for the SUDC Foundation, where she created and oversees the Foundation’s formal volunteer program and supports the Foundation’s communication efforts. Stephanie began her career working for U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s press office and at Spitfire Strategies, a communications firm that works with nonprofits and foundations in Washington, DC where she provided direct support to her clients to develop and implement their communication strategy and training to help them do it themselves. Before losing Scarlett, Stephanie served as the Volunteer Coordinator at Animal Friends, an animal rescue organization in Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to her work with the SUDC Foundation, Stephanie is the Assistant Executive Director and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Scarlett Lillian Pauley Foundation, a foundation she and her husband, Ryan, founded in Scarlett’s memory to raise money and awareness of SUDC and support bereaved families in their community. Stephanie also volunteers with the Still Remembered Project, a nonprofit located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which provides bereaved parents and families Christian-based support and encouragement for a loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. Stephanie received her undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from Syracuse University. She is a grammar nerd, animal lover, hockey fan, theatre enthusiast, unapologetic reality TV viewer and amateur fiber artist. Stephanie lives outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Ryan, Eliana and their two dogs and three cats.

Why SUDC Awareness is Important to Us

As we all continue to cope with the worldwide pandemic, we are encouraged by the dedication our supporters have continued to devote to SUDC Awareness Month 2020 while facing the challenges and uncertainty that surround us. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us hold tight together as a community and found creative ways to take part in activities to raise awareness of SUDC and remember the children gone far too soon. 

The theme for the last week of the month is “Why SUDC Awareness is Important to Me,” which offers our community an opportunity to recall their efforts for the month and reflect on how raising awareness impacts their lives.

The SUDC Foundation represents a community with many stories, but one shared voice. The story of each child, the experience of each family and the voice of every SUDC supporter hold the key to creating a world free of SUDC. With that in mind, we asked each member of our staff and board of directors to share with us why SUDC awareness is important to them. 

Caring for the SUDC Family: Medical and Bereavement Information for the Clinicians' Consideration


When a child dies unexpectedly, a family may feel a flood of emotions, including guilt, anger and lack of control. The clinician’s role is to offer stable support, information and compassionate care.  In order to provide the most appropriate care for families in these situations, it is necessary to understand the complexities of the grief and trauma response and to recognize that the families’ needs will change over time.

The following suggestions include considerations for both the medical and psychosocial needs of the primary family members. These provide some general guidelines and recommendations to consider, recognizing that they will need to be tailored for each individual family based on the specific circumstances of their child’s death, significant findings from the death investigation, the child/family medical history, the clinical evaluations of family members and their family circumstances.

Spreading Scarlett's Sunshine


Last fall, a little girl with big, blue eyes, a smile that could light up a room and a personality to match her name left her mark on history when Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act was introduced into Congress. And last week, her spirit toddled back through the halls of the Capitol when it was reintroduced to combat sudden, unexpected infant and child deaths.

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