Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood: How You Can Help (VIDEO)

tracy casselsAs a parent, I can't imagine anything worse than losing my child. Yet every year there are too many families that face this exact reality. Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child (SUDC) affects 1.5 out of every 100,000 children aged 1 to 5. Unfortunately, SUDC research has zero federal funding and has raised only $1 million in the last ten years

Can you imagine waking up to find the little person ... who made your heart grow ten sizes, who took your heart out of your chest and put it on your sleeve, and for whom you would do anything to prevent even an ounce of pain ... dead for no apparent reason?

It's hard to even contemplate, but the parents of these children live with that reality every single day. And they're looking for answers.

That's where you can help.


Julie of The Progressive Parent has started the Sing for SUDC challenge. If you don't already know, Julie lost her son Patrick to SUDC a year and a half ago, and she moves forward each day because she has to, but it doesn't make the pain less. We owe Julie and every parent who has experienced this loss our support because it could have been us. It still could be. We are all parents and if we can't take a moment to help families dealing with the absolute worst then we really have no sense of community or compassion for each other.

sudc info chart

The challenge is simple and brings us close to the heart of the matter of SUDC: The love we have for our children. Here's how it works: You donate $10 (or more) to SUDC research--quick link here: -- and then you record yourself using your voice. The original idea is to sing. Sing a song you sing to your child or that you loved as a child or that your parents sang to you. Just sing. But if you really can't sing, use your voice to share something with the world that will help families in pain and help us get just even a bit closer to understanding what is happening.

I will say this: I can't sing, even my daughter reminds me not to sing when we've got the music going. In fact, as I was practising my song and checking lyrics on the computer, she said to me, "Mom, the computer may be telling you how to sing, but it doesn't hear you. So don't sing."  I took longer to do this because, I'm ashamed to say, that at the start the thought of singing on camera just seemed too much to ask. I'll give you money, but publicly humiliate myself? No thanks.  

Then I realized something: My embarrassment about singing, my hatred of the camera, the desire to not make an ass of myself mean nothing when compared to the pain of losing a child. It really is that simple: As there is nothing I wouldn't do to save my daughter, why would embarrassment stop me from trying to help someone else's child?  (And in fairness to my daughter, when I explained why I was singing, she got on board and even came to listen as I did the video and told me after it was "good.") So no matter how shy you are or how much you don't like the camera or your voice, please share it anyway. For too many families, it may be the only hope they have.

Steps for the Sing for SUDC Challenge:
1) Go to and make your donation.
2) Record yourself singing a song you love -- one you sing to your child, one you had sang to you, or just a childhood favourite -- or if you really can't/won't sing, use your voice to raise awareness.
3) Share your video online using the tags #singforsudc and #useyourvoicechallenge.
4) Nominate 3 people to do the same -- technically they should have 24 hours to do it, but be kind if it takes them longer (it certainly took me longer, but I upped my donation because of it, though don't feel you have to do the same).

Without further ado, I share my attempt of my favourite song from childhood, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.

Consider yourself nominated.

Image via The Progressive Parent

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