SALEM A local family is raising money to help promote awareness and find the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Jennifer and Harry Koons, who live just outside Winona, lost their 6-month-old son to SIDS in August last year.
He was a very healthy, strong, active baby," Jennifer said. "My husband Harry and I knew the SIDS risk factors, and truthfully didn't feel we had anything to be concerned about."
According to Jennifer, Colton slept in his own bed, he was breast fed, and she and her husband do not smoke. Colton began to crawl and roll very quickly and was hard to keep up with; he loved to eat, and his favorite food was applesauce.
"Colton hardly ever fussed and just loved to play with his brother and sister and loved being by his mommy's side," Jennifer said.
But their lives changed forever on Aug. 19.
Jennifer said Colton woke up early that morning and played with his sister, Callie, for a few hours, enjoying the blanket forts she was building for them. He began to get fussy around 10 a.m., so she put him down in his crib. About an hour later he had stopped breathing. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.
"Since then, I have done what I can to raise awareness for SIDS, and also to raise money for research," Jennifer said.
Her efforts have raised roughly $4,400 this year.
The family is hosting "Crafting for Colton" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Salem Saxon Club to raise funds for SIDS research. The event will feature a craft show with approximately 40 vendors and crafters, a spaghetti dinner, concession stand, Chinese auction and 50/50 raffle.
Jennifer said all proceeds will go toward research at Boston Children's Hospital where Dr. Hannah Kinney and her team of researchers believe that babies who pass away suddenly due to SIDS were already at risk because of a brain stem abnormality.
Kinney's work contends that there is a lack of serotonin in the brainstem of babies who die suddenly. She recently published a journal article in "Pediatrics: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics," comparing the autopsies of babies who passed away suddenly from both known and unknown causes, the findings of which showed that babies who died from unknown causes, and even suspected suffocation, had the abnormalities in their brain stem, which regulates breathing during sleep. Her goal is to not only prove that the brainstem abnormalities are the cause of SIDS, but also to eventually test living babies for their SIDS risk.