The shock of almost losing a child is indescribable and something that no parent, and no child, should have to experience.
In 2011 when my two-day old son Ryan stopped breathing and lay motionless in my lap, I immediately assumed the worst.
After we revived him via CPR, we went to causality, and then back many times to the specialist facility at Westmead Hospital.
We left the hospital extremely grateful and with our son, but without answers.
We didn’t know what happened, why it happened or if it would happen again – we just knew we had come close to losing our son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
“The shock of almost losing a child is indescribable and something that no parent, and no child, should have to experience.”
SIDS is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently well baby.
And Ryan was one of the lucky ones, because in 2013 alone, 117 babies died suddenly and unexpectedly, and of those deaths, 54 were identified as SIDS.
After the initial scare, we had to go to the Children’s Hospital every fortnight to monitor his breathing and heart rate, and through that contact we realised how little research and funding they had.
I wanted to help them, and I have a lot of friends who did fitness, so I brought the two together and launched the SIDS Stampede fun run to raise funding and awareness.
The event was a way to motivate every-day Australians to get together, enjoy each other’s company in a healthy environment and raise money for an important cause.
“SIDS is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently well baby”
The event, held every Father’s Day, raises awareness and money for the SIDS and Sleep Apnoea Research Department at Westmead Children’s Hospital, the only such facility in the country.
Thanks to the generosity of thousands who have taken part over the years, we have now raised more than $130,000 and recently this funding contributed to a significant breakthrough in SIDS research.
It is my hope that this funding helps drive down the SIDS rate and stops parents going through the pain and heartache of losing a child.
Nadia Levin – CEO of Research Australia.
As the representative group of 160 medical research organisations across Australia, I can tell you that we can’t do our job without people like Brenda.
Without the ‘Brenda’s’ of the world championing the benefits of medical research, many devastating health conditions, like SIDS, would not get addressed. It’s not just about money, it’s about awareness raising as well. And it’s this awareness that throws light on our communities and the ordinary people who frankly take on heroic tasks to make things that little bit better. And that is what Brenda has done for SIDS research and helped give hope to the other Mum’s just like her.
Advocacy and giving is part of what makes scientific advancement and research possible, and Brenda’s SIDS Stampede is testament to her passion and commitment to this cause.
And that’s why we at Research Australia applaud and highlight these great efforts not only of the great work done by the researchers but importantly of the seemingly ordinary folk doing extraordinary things. It’s important we make a big deal and celebrate because ultimately we are celebrating life.
This new research that she helped raise funds for, found that babies who die from SIDS have decreased levels of a protein that helps adults and babies wake up if they stop breathing from sleep apnoea.
Westmead researchers Dr Rita Machaalani and doctoral student Nicholas J Hunt, found a 20 per cent decrease in a protein called Orexin in the babies who had died of SIDS.
Basically, it seems to show that the response to tell babies to wake up is not as strong in babies who die from SIDS.
“Babies who die from SIDS have decreased levels of a protein that helps adults and babies wake up if they stop breathing.”
This is potentially a game-changing breakthrough in SIDS research and we can thank Brenda for driving the change through her awareness raising SIDS Stampede fun run.
She began the fun run in 2011 and has raised more than $130,000 for Westmead Hospital to conduct this research and it is because of her that we can get to these really important outcomes.
This is why Research Australia was thrilled to award the 2016 Research Australia Advocacy Award to Brenda.
This is the staff administering the antibiotics through the cannular in his head.
We are the lucky ones