Wednesday, July 2, 2008

First Candle Awards $100,000 Research Grant to Save Babies’ Lives

First Candle Awards $100,000 Research Grant to Save Babies’ Lives Project Works to Prevent Sudden, Unexpected Deaths in Infancy and Early Childhood

In response to ongoing concerns about our nation’s alarmingly high rates of infant mortality, First Candle today announced that a $100,000 grant has been awarded to Dr. Henry Krous, Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, to support his world-renowned research into the prevention of sudden, unexpected deaths occurring in infancy and early childhood. Despite significant declines in infant mortality over the past decade, the United States continues to rank only 28th among developed nations at keeping our babies healthy and safe, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) continues to be the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age. More than 4,500 babies die suddenly and unexpected in the U.S. each year.

Historically, there has been no consistency in how these deaths are investigated and no central repository for the data collected. As a result, research is challenging and parents are left with more unanswered questions than answers about why their baby died. Dr. Krous is the first in the field to collect and evaluate clinical, epidemiological and pathological data on babies and children that die without warning.

According to Dr. Hannah Kinney, SIDS researcher at Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Krous’ project is critical to not only her research, but to research projects worldwide, as they work to find causes and identify preventive strategies to save as many lives as possible.

“First Candle is proud to be able to continue our support of this important project,” said Executive Director Deborah Boyd. “Dr. Krous is an integral part of the SIDS/SUDC community and gives hope and healing to families that have experienced the sudden death of their beloved baby.” In addition to collecting and evaluating data, Krous volunteers his services to families by providing a “second” professional opinion for those that are concerned or confused about the diagnosis they were given for their child’s death.

One family that has been touched and inspired by Dr. Krous’ work is Craig and Krissy Thomas. On November 30, 2007, the Thomas’ lost their first child, Cole Westley, to SIDS. In his memory, and to continue his legacy, Craig and Krissy established the Cole Westley Thomas Memorial Fund at First Candle. In the short time since Cole’s death, the fund has generated nearly $50,000.

"We are pleased to contribute the funds raised in Cole's memory to Dr. Krous' project in San Diego. Without his work, important research into the brain stem as a potential cause of SIDS deaths would grind to a halt, as access to research samples would become severely restricted," said Thomas.

In an effort to help researchers unravel the mysteries surrounding these deaths, the Thomas’ have designated the San Diego SIDS/SUDC Research Project as the beneficiary of Cole’s fund. In response, First Candle has generously offered to match that contribution with $50,000, bringing the total award to $100,000.

"I am honored to receive this grant. It is an exceedingly generous gift that memorializes Cole Westley, the beloved son of Craig and Krissy Thomas, and provides much needed support to critical research into SIDS," said Krous.

First Candle is a national, nonprofit health organization dedicated to promoting safe pregnancies and the survival of babies through the first years of life. With programs of research, education and advocacy we are working toward a future where all babies are given the best possible chance to reach not only their first birthday, but many happy birthdays beyond. Until we reach this goal, we remain committed to providing compassionate grief support to all those affected by the death of a baby.

For more information, to make a donation or to access local support services, please call 1.800.221.7437 or visit

Dr. Henry Krous is board certified in anatomic pathology and in pediatric pathology. He is the Director of Pathology at Children's Hospital San Diego and Adjunct Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics at the UCSD School of Medicine. His clinical interests include SIDS (sudden unexpected death in infancy and childhood), and renal disease. He is chair of the Pathology Working Group, SIDS Global Strategy Task Force and Vice Chair of the California SIDS Advisory Council. Dr. Krous serves on the editorial board of Pediatric and Developmental Pathology and reviews for several other journals. He is the author of more than 120 articles, 80 abstracts and has edited three books. He has been invited to give nearly 100 lectures in the United States, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.



Donna McDine ~ Children's Author said...

Hi...very interesting post...glad to see well needed grant money is going to worthy research.

Warm regards,

Jewel Sample said...

Indeed any dollars spent toward finding an answer to SIDS delights this grandma. I look forward to the day when no other families have to experience the loss of an infant.
Thank you for stopping by and posting!