Life consistently demonstrates that the little things can and do make a difference. Three Redwood Valley Middle School fifth graders, Olivia Stoterau, Kenzie Lundeen and Madison LeSage, proved that recently when they decided to act.
“We have all heard sad stories about SIDS,” said Stoterau.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, SIDS, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the number one killer of infants ages one month to one year, and it claims the lives of more than 2,500 babies in the United States each year.
When this mysterious killer hits close to home, people react in different ways, and some of them take action – like these three young ladies who decided to sell hot chocolate at school on a cold Friday morning.
“We asked Mrs. (Nicole) Lydick (Redwood Valley Middle School principal) if we could,” said Lundeen.
With permission, the trio went to work, and in less than an hour raised nearly $300 for the Dominick Bruns Memorial Fund.
According to LeSage, it was Lydick who offered the girls a few ideas about where they could donate, and the three decided a local program was a good fit.
The Dominick Bruns Memorial Fund has existed since 2008, which is the same year Dominick Bruns died of SIDS.
“He was five months old,” said Becky Bruns, the mom who established a non-profit organization to create a legacy her son was not able to.
Through the memorial fund, families with a newborn at the Redwood Area Hospital and Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar are given a sleep sack and lots of educational information about SIDS in an effort to help prevent at least some of the deaths that may be attributed to SIDS.
Bruns said there are two important lessons she stresses with families: always have your baby sleep on his or her back and keep the crib empty – no loose items, just a tight-fitting sheet.
Since the memorial fund was established in 2008 Bruns said they have been able to educate 8,000 families about SIDS, and she said the donation from Stoterau, Lundeen and LeSage is going to help about 25 more families.
“One hundred percent of the donations we receive go back into continuing the education of families,” said Bruns, adding the sleep sacks and good education have helped to reduce the incidence of SIDS by 60 percent.
Yet, she added, the mystery behind some SIDS cases persists.
It is the cases when an infant is rebreathing air that leads to some SIDS deaths, and Bruns said those are the kinds that can be prevented with sleep sacks.
Bruns continues to demonstrate a passion in her fight to end SIDS, as she, with the support of family, friends and the community, hosts fundraisers, attends trade shows and goes wherever else she can to spread the word.
Bruns expressed her appreciation for the recent donation.
“This community is so supportive,” said Bruns. “When there is a need people always come out to help.”
Bruns said the Dominick Bruns Memorial Fund, as a non-profit entity, has a board, and she expressed her appreciation to those who volunteer their time to serve.
One can learn more about SIDS and the Dominick Bruns Memorial Fund on The Official Dominick Bruns Memorial Fund Facebook Page.
Bruns admitted she never expected the fund established in her son’s name would ever get as big as it has, but it is because of people like these three fifth graders who continually demonstrate support that it continues to grow.
“We just wanted to help make a difference,” said Stoterau, as both Lundeen and LeSage nodded their heads in agreement.
The trio of young fundraisers expressed their appreciation to the people who came to support their effort, adding they hope to do even more in the future.