A chance encounter in a local coffee shop here in Connecticut lead me to the First Candle NYC Marathon team. It was there that I overheard Alison Jacobson, CEO of First Candle and a SIDS mother, talking about her organization.
Infant loss and bereavement is a familiar topic for me, as my sister Tracy and her husband, Bryan, lost their daughter Emma to stillbirth in 2007. Tracy went on to form Emma's Footprints in her honor, an Erie, Pennsylvania based organization that helps families dealing with infant loss and bereavement.
This will be my first marathon and I couldn't think of running for a more worthy organization. I hope you will consider supporting my fundraiser as I run to support First Candle, Emma's Footprints, and all families touched by loss.
I am so proud of my brother for taking on the challenge of running in the NYC marathon supporting First Candle and Emma’s Footprints. His support makes my heart burst with joy that he is running in memory of his niece, Emma💕 - Tracy
Every year 3,600 babies die from SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths
This is the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age. First Candle is committed to ending SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths while providing bereavement support to families who have tragically experienced a loss.
79% of these deaths occur in the parent's bed or in a crib that includes blankets, pillows or stuffed animals. The rate of SIDS can be dramatically reduced by following the safe sleep guidelines developed by The American Academy of Pediatrics. Health inequities, social determinants and cultural beliefs play key factors in a parent's ability and/or willingness to adopt these recommendations. Our program, Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep, trains nurses, social workers and other community care providers on the Safe Sleep guidelines, the reasoning behind them and how to work with families to incorporate them into their family structure.
There will always, however, be families who need our support when they have lost a baby. For them we provide a grief line, online support groups, peer support volunteers who meet in person and bereavement support materials.
We envision a day where every baby reaches his or her first birthday. Until then we will continue to educate care providers and parents on the importance of creating a safe sleep environment for every nap time and bed time.
We are a national member in good standing of Community Health Charities, have a Gold ranking on Guide Star, and a 3-star ranking on Charity Navigator. We are proud to maintain administrative costs well below the nonprofit industry standard of 25 percent.