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.  

Our Staff:

Amanda Brindle, Family Services Coordinator
“SUDC awareness means helping families continue their child’s legacy while delivering important messages about SUDC. It is not only seeing the pride in our community as they work together to accomplish goals for a cause greater than themselves, but also being a part of it!”

Michelle Brodeur, Family Services Assistant
“It is very special to be a small part of some of the ways families can remember their precious children as well as raise awareness of SUDC, especially during SUDC Awareness Month. It is very meaningful for me to be able to assist families in having their children honored at SUDC Foundation events and fundraisers. Helping families share their child’s story on the SUDC Instagram page or create a T-shirt in their child’s memory helps them raise awareness in their own communities and neighborhoods and with their own families and friends. It is supporting them in their efforts for which I am most grateful.”

Heather Maher, Family Advocate
“SUDC awareness is important to me because as more medical professionals become familiar with SUDC and understand the impact it has on families, hopefully, the standardization of care will improve and become more uniform across the country.”

Elizabeth Milliken, Director of Development
“Raising awareness of the work done by the SUDC Foundation is an essential first step in communicating with people who want to contribute to achieve our mission. When I have the opportunity to educate new audiences about Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, they quickly become supporters eager to learn how they can help. Engaging supporters and starting the conversation about SUDC is paramount to advocating for research and supporting the families and professionals touched by SUDC.”

Stephanie Zarecky, Ambassador Program and Public Relations Manager, mother of Scarlett
“Like most parents who lost children to SUDC, I was not aware of SUDC until it shattered my family. While we in the SUDC family community each have our own unique perspectives and experiences, we often share two fundamental desires – to share our child’s story and prevent any more families from suffering what we have. And I am so honored to be able to help other SUDC parents do both through my work with the SUDC Foundation. My greatest hope is that through raising awareness, every family that needs the SUDC Foundation is able to find it and that being connected to it can be a beacon of hope for them, like it has been to my family. And that through awareness, we can raise critical support for research into the causes and ways to prevent SUDC, so one day no other family suffers as mine has.” 

Our Board of Directors:

Bobby Jenkins, Chair of the Board of Directors, grandfather of Moss
“Having SUDC Awareness Month is absolutely critical to the work we do at the Foundation. The opportunity for every state to participate in this campaign enhances our awareness and credibility. We are able to share with thousands more people what SUDC is and that it is absolutely critical that we find ways to fund research into what causes over 400 children to die each year with no known explanation. Having the opportunity to let the public know that SUDC is the 5th leading category of death for children 1-4 years old is so important to our mission. In addition, rallying together as a community to inform the public brings us all closer together as we all try to make a positive impact on the awareness front. Social media is a wonderful tool that lets us communicate with each other but more importantly, in this case, with each of our personal and business networks. I know I feel like I am making a difference when I post information about SUDC and I feel an added connection to all in our community when we are working together to build awareness.”

Laura Gould Crandall, Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors, mother of Maria (retired)
“I believe that improved awareness of SUDC is a vital step to achieve support for those grieving and funding for research. In order to help decrease one’s isolation after SUDC and help them find hope in the future, we need to find them. Whenever someone holds an event for the SUDC Foundation, we find someone that thought they were alone and now knows that have the SUDC community there for them. Connecting them with the guidance of others can provide a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe it is humanity’s greatest gift – to connect with another in compassion. Awareness is also our key to understanding and preventing these inexplicable tragedies. If society and the medical community are not aware that SUDC is a problem, then they won’t prioritize the needed research funds to investigate the problem.”

Erin Bowen, M.D., Vice President of the Board of Directors, mother of Conor
“Due to lack of awareness, more often than not, the medical community is unable to provide families with adequate support. We know that many of our families find the SUDC Foundation on their own and some may never find it. As we increase medical awareness, as part of the SUDC Foundation’s medical education initiative which I lead, we hope to empower medical professionals with the tools and resources to meet the needs of families. As we increase medical awareness, we also increase the recognition of the need for more research which ultimately will lead to prevention, bringing us one step closer to our vision of a world without SUDC. As a pediatrician who was unaware of SUDC until it affected our family, this is a cause that is very important to me. Losing a child is devastating. Losing a child and not having an answer adds isolation and fear to this devastation. As we gain more awareness, we connect families with a community that can support them and that can truly understand. For me, SUDC awareness means the hope that no family will have to walk this unthinkable journey alone.”

James W. Lintott, Co-founder and Treasurer of the Board of Directors
“As an SUDC Foundation board member who has the honor and privilege of serving families affected by SUDC, awareness means amplifying the advocacy, research and support our Foundation promotes to a level that mobilizes our governmental, health care and education institutions to make our vision of ‘A world without Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood’ a reality.”

Julia Burgess, Secretary of the Board of Directors, mother of Vivienne
“As a board member I am passionate about supporting all the work the Foundation does. SUDC awareness is so important to make sure families and medical professionals know about all the resources available to them when the unthinkable happens. SUDC awareness is also critical to ensuring we can continue the important medical research that will lead to a world without SUDC. I am so grateful for everything the Foundation has done for our family and hope that my service can ensure all those resources are available to any other family who needs them.”

Lorri Caffrey, Co-founder and Board of Directors Member, mother of Jenna
“Helping others through my work at the Foundation has been a positive force on my grief journey. Our children are making their impact on this world today through everything we do to remember them. Raising awareness and educating others about Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood means that more people can find comfort and support through the unthinkable. It means that no parent or grandparent needs to suffer alone.”

Laura Dozier, Board of Directors Member, mother of Slade
“SUDC Awareness Month gives our community 31 days to share the smiles and stories of our children on a larger stage. It allows the SUDC Foundation, where I am proud to serve as a member of its board of directors, to engage with politicians and gain traction in the world of medical examiners and researchers. Most importantly, it serves as a reminder that we, the parents out living their legacies, are not alone on our journey to find answers.”  

Matthew Polenzani, Board of Directors Member, father of Alessandra
“As a member of the board of directors for the SUDC Foundation, I am heartened and proud to think of everything we have accomplished. Knowledge about SUDC is growing among the medical examiner community, and our research into SUDC and its causes is continuing. My heart hurts for every family touched by SUDC, and I am grateful to know that the search for an end to SUDC is being so diligently pursued. Beyond that, with the support of the staff at the SUDC Foundation, my wife and I were able to figure out how to move forward in our lives, and we both feel that without them, we would be in a much different and darker place. Helping families find their way after suffering the death of a child or sibling is difficult work, and their dedication to us, and to every family touched by SUDC is one of the great gifts in our world. I am proud to serve on the board of directors of the SUDC Foundation. I am proud of the work being done to find a way to make SUDC a thing of the past, and I am proud of the help and support given to every family touched by the sudden death of a child.”

Steve Myers, Board of Directors Member, father of Jacob
“Promoting awareness is so critical to our mission that it is the first pillar we list in our vision statement. The fabric of awareness weaves through nearly every discussion we have at the board level and we are very proud that over 40 states have recognized March as SUDC Awareness Month (we are still working hard to add my home state of California to the list, c’mon California!) Everything begins with awareness so please join us and share your words, efforts and pictures on social media with #SUDCAwareness.”

As SUDC Awareness Month comes to a close, we remain committed to supporting one another and achieving a brighter future for all children and their families. Please help us bring the month to its strong finish by following along on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! And please share our posts including #SUDCAwareness!

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