SIDS Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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A Message from the Executive Director�

Since 1989 I have had the privilege of devoting my professional career to the needs of the SIDS community.   During that time we have progressed from a non-profit organization, governed by a statewide Board of Directors, whose mission was bereavement support for families whose babies died of sudden infant death syndrome to our present focus on reducing infant mortality rates throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   For those who have not been on this exciting journey, I would like to tell you about our history.


In 1976, Bryan Patrick Puskar died silently in his sleep.  In the months following Bryan�s death, his parents, Chuck and Jan, began looking for a foundation that would provide them with the support and information that they so desperately needed.


Fortunately for them and countless other SIDS families over the past 20 years, they discovered the National Foundation for Sudden Infant Death.  With the guidance of the national foundation and the assistance of Dr. Cyril Wecht, the Allegheny County Coroner and Wes Weidenhamer from Children�s Hospital, the seeds of the PA SIDS Alliance were planted.  Pennsylvania families suffering the loss of an infant now have a safe place to express their grief, someone who can say �I know how you feel�. 


With the adoption of the Tree of Hope as our symbol, we are reminded that even though the fallen leaf, symbolizing the lost infant, is separated from the family, the family can remain strong and continue to grow with the proper nurturing.  We have dedicated our lives to providing that nurturing. 


The tree also symbolizes the many branches of our organization.  In addition to support for families, we continue to support the general public through our �Cribs for Kids� Campaign, which has provided over 6,500 new cribs and mattresses to families throughout Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties since 1998.   Our education branch is responsible for the education of thousands of first responders, nurses, doctors, funeral directors, parents and grandparents about the proper handling of a SIDS death and ways to Reduce the Risks of SIDS.   Our continued support of research produced life-saving programs such as the Back to Sleep Campaign, which is responsible for cutting our SIDS rates by over 50% since 1994.


Although over the past 20 years we have shown much progress and many of our goals have been met, we will continue our quest to eliminate SIDS and make an impact on our infant mortality rates throughout Pennsylvania �..�in the belief that every child should live�.  





Judith A. Bannon,

Executive Director

S.I.D.S. of Pennsylvania





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