"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit"
SIDS America Launches New SIDS Resource and Support Website
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - A few years ago, the world came crashing in on Bill and Cheryl Darnell, SIDS America founders, when they went to wake their infant son, Billy, for his morning feeding and found him dead. Billy, who had seemed perfectly healthy just a few hours earlier, had fallen victim to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of death among infants between 1 and 12 months of age in America.
"There were no warning signs, and there remains no explanation for the heartbreaking death of our little boy," Cheryl said. "With so many hopes and dreams shattered, we simply couldn’t imagine how life could possibly continue."
Life did continue for the Darnells, despite their tremendous grief. In fact, Billy's death pushed the family to see life in a whole new way, to embrace each day they have together, and to use their experience to help other families who experience the death of a child to SIDS.
A few short months after Billy's death, Bill and Cheryl founded SIDS America, a national, faith-based SIDS support and resource center. Today, halfway through SIDS Awareness Month, SIDS America has launched its new web site at www.sidsamerica.org. The site offers a wealth of resources about SIDS, including risk factors and preventive measures, as well as a state-by-state directory of local SIDS resources.
To encourage others to visit the site and spread the word about SIDS America, generous donors have offered a challenge gift of $2,500, provided the organization can obtain 500 online donations before the end of November. Donations of any size count toward the goal.
Through sidsamerica.org, parents who have had a child die of SIDS can apply for financial aid to help cover the medical, funeral and burial expenses associated with their child's death.
"SIDS hits totally unexpectedly, and families are often not able to cover the tremendous financial burden that comes with the death of a child," Bill said. "They have to finance the hospital bills and funeral expenses, and then they are reminded month after month of their baby's death. They just can't heal with that. That's why we started our financial aid program."
The new SIDS America site also gives grieving families an opportunity to share their story of loss, hope and healing while connecting with other families through their stories.
"Bill and I took tremendous comfort in connecting with other families who had lost babies to SIDS," Cheryl said. "There is something so powerful about hearing their stories and knowing that they survived. It makes you realize that you really can make it. There is hope. That's why we wanted our web site to be powered by stories. It's the core of everything we do."
To share the story of her own journey from loss to life and provide encouragement to other parents, Cheryl has started the Loss to Life blog on sidsamerica.org.
"I started to write for myself, because it helped," Cheryl said. "But then, other moms came to me and said that it helped them so much to know what I was going through. They said it gave them hope. And that's what Bill and I want more than anything—to be a resource of hope, help and healing."
SIDS America, Executive Director