Had it been a car crash, there would have been an answer.
If a cancer diagnosis had been heard, there would be some form of resolution.
Yet for the Jamie and Amy Larsen family of Milroy, there is no answer they can lean on when they talk about their daughter.
Brooklyn Larsen was 11 years old Sept. 11, 2017 when she died, and after an autopsy was conducted the cause of death was determined to be “unexplained.”
While the death of a child is devastating enough for a family, not knowing why it happened makes it even more difficult.
For the Larsens, that answer may never come, but they are not fixed on that reality. Their bigger priority is on making sure the memory of their daughter continues, and they are helping make that happen this coming Sunday (Sept. 8) with a special event in Milroy.
In the park that day starting at 12:30 p.m. a gathering will be held to honor and remember Brooklyn.
The event will include a meal with the main dish (pulled pork) provided. Those planning to attend are asked to bring a dish to pass. A silent auction will be held from 1-3 p.m.
According to Jamie, items for the auction are still being accepted and will be up until the event.
There will also be games and other activities offered.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a chair and to just sit and enjoy a day with family and friends. Free will donations are being accepted.
Funds that are raised are being used to provide scholarships for students who attended the Milroy school, with other funds used to help support other families who experience what is known as the sudden unexplained death of a child.
An organization known as the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) Foundation has been established, and for the Larsens, that has been a great resource for them.
Jamie and Amy said that the SUDC Foundation has provided support for them in various ways, including covering the costs for the DNA samples that were used to try and determine how Brooklyn died.
According to Laura Gould Crandall, executive director and co-founder of the SUDC Foundation, Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) is a “category of death in children between the ages of one and 18 that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including an autopsy.”
The term SUDC was first published in 2005.
In 2014, Crandall and Lorri Caffrey, both SUDC parents, along with Orrin Devinsky, M.D. and James Lintott, decided to turn the SUDC Program (established in 2001 under the umbrella of a larger foundation) into an independent non-profit organization.
The SUDC Foundation’s ultimate vision is a world without Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). Its mission is to promote awareness, advocate for research and support those affected by sudden unexpected or unexplained death in childhood.
Crandall added, while it is the fifth leading category of death among children ages one to four, SUDC has received no public funding to date. Funding for the SUDC Foundation primarily comes as a result of awareness raised through events such as the one Brooklyn’s family is holding in her memory, as well as private foundations run by SUDC families and individuals and memorial gifts made in memory of children lost to SUDC.
The biggest misunderstanding about SUDC is that it is not a “cause” of death or a “medical condition.” SUDC is a category of death, not a cause or condition. It is likely that SUDC does not have a single cause, but many causes, and is an umbrella term to describe these deaths that have not been specifically determined, which is why using those terms isn’t accurate.
The SUDC Foundation is working tirelessly to change that and share the most current and accurate information as possible on SUDC.
Jamie and Amy described their daughter as a “ray of sunshine,” adding she had a big heart, and they want to encourage others to let their light shine.
The Larsens expressed their appreciation for the community support they have received adding it is that support and their faith in God as well the belief that one day they will see their beloved Brooklyn again that helps to keep them going – one day at a time.
To learn more about SUDC and the foundation, visit sudc.org.