Melanie Peters’ six-month-old son Cole died nine years ago, so she’s got firsthand knowledge of the pain Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) causes.
To help prevent other families from suffering such an agonizing loss, Peters, along with sisters Tammy Paslawski and Teena Bazylinski and friend Sandra Orban, will be running in the Cabot Trail Relay this weekend in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to raise money for the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.
They will be joined by others from throughout the country on the foundation’s Team Baby’s Breath.
“I became involved in the foundation through that, being a SIDS mom,” said Peters. “I was invited because (the foundation) was making a national running team for a fundraiser and they wanted a participant from each territory.”
The relay is a 298-kilometre-long race divided into 17 legs between the Cape Breton Highlands and the Margaree Valley.
The 24-hour race will start at 8 a.m. Saturday and will wrap-up Sunday morning.
“We put our names forward and (each) got three choices (of legs of the race),” said Peters. “You look at the map and they have the elevation grid and you put down three choices, and the organizer, Arthur (Warman) from the Running Room in Edmonton,
pieced it all together.”
Of the four, Orban chose the toughest leg, a section that is almost entirely uphill.
“I like hills,” said Orban. “I’ve been doing Grey Mountain the last couple weeks. I do a long run every week and it’s been Grey Mountain because I was trying to figure out what would mimic my leg.
“It’s just me and a can of bear spray.”
Running in the same event last year, the foursome raised about $25,000 for the foundation in the relay. This year the four will fall short of last year’s total, but they are still hoping to bring in $10,000.
“Each of us has to raise $1,500 minimum,” said Peters. “That goes towards the foundation for education and awareness.
“Yukoners are very generous.”
Formally referred to a “crib death,” SIDS is the sudden death of an infant from unknown causes.
It is the most common cause of death of babies under a year of age, striking approximately 200 each year in Canada. However, cases have dropped by 45 per cent since the creation of the foundation’s Reducing the Risk of SIDS program in 1994.
“I want to thank everyone for their generosity and their kind words,” said Peters. “That really hits you when you’re going down a road and you think about the support that you have.”
More information about SIDS can be found at the www.sidscanada.org.
Contact Tom Patrick at