||SIDS of Pennsylvania - Newsletters|
Mayor played a vital role as chairman of SIDS of PA�s board of directors
Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O�Connor had a big heart, and no one knows that
better than SIDS of PA, a charitable organization with whom Mr.
O�Connor continued to work closely even after he took office as mayor.
his death, Mr. O�Connor served as chairman of SIDS of PA�s board of
directors, but he served this organization in numerous vital ways over
the course of his 14-year involvement.
1992, O�Connor�s infant niece, Yael Pelled, died of SIDS (Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome). At the time, Mr. O�Connor had just been
elected to the Pittsburgh City Council.
He contacted SIDS of PA, asking how he could become involved, and
was asked to join the board of directors.
that time on, he was continuously involved with SIDS of PA, serving as
chairman of the development committee, chairman of the finance committee
and vice chairman of the board. When he took his mayoral office, he
divested himself of many of his outside interests, but he chose to
remain actively involved with SIDS of PA and was elected chairman of the
board on June 29, 2006.
work was a direct and crucial help in SIDS of PA�s successful effort
to reduce SIDS death rates in Allegheny County and, more recently, other
counties and states.
1998, Mr. O�Connor was responsible for obtaining funding for SIDS of
PA to start its Cribs for Kids Campaign, which distributes cribs to
needy families, providing them with safe sleep environments for their
babies and thus reducing the risk of infant death due to either SIDS or
accidental suffocation. Since
the inception of this program in 1998, Allegheny County�s SIDS death
rates have dipped significantly lower than the national average, and the
Allegheny County Child Death Review Team credits Cribs for Kids with
making this reduction possible.
than 5,000 cribs have been distributed in Allegheny County since Mr.
O�Connor obtained those first funds.
Now the program is being replicated in 49 counties in
Pennsylvania plus 24 other states.
Most recently, New York City has signed on as a Cribs for Kids
partner, and Pittsburgh�s own SIDS of PA will help New York implement
a plan to distribute 5,000 cribs in its first year of operation as part
of Mayor Bloomberg�s initiative to reduce infant mortality.
of the compassion that arose from his own familial connection to SIDS,
Mr. O�Connor also worked to provide support for families affected by
SIDS. Following a SIDS of PA board meeting in 1994, Mr. O�Connor and
SIDS of PA Executive Director Judith Bannon discussed the need for a
place for siblings of SIDS victims to go to express their grief. They
began to make phone calls to social work departments of local hospitals
and hospices. Within six
months, the Pittsburgh Center for Grieving Children was established.
The Highmark Foundation later acquired it and renamed it The
Caring Place, and it now has locations throughout the state.
1992, Bob has opened his heart to families whose infants have died and
also worked to reduce the number of infant deaths through the Cribs for
Kids program,� Bannon said. �He
was loved and will be missed by the SIDS community.
He was not only our leader, he was our friend.�
�2006 S.I.D.S. of Pennsylvania
Suite 250 Riverfront Place - 810 River Avenue - Pittsburgh, PA 15212
412-322-5680 or 800-PA1-SIDS (800-721-7437)