Monday, August 25, 2008

Granddaughter Inspires Iowa Grandmother

On October 2, 2006 Deb Westergreen awoke to a phone call and a county sheriff knocking on her door. Both were attempts to notify her that her son and daughter-law’s third child, Jaycee Marie Schilling had stop breathing and had died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Deb's inspirational story continues in her own words.

After weeks of flopping around like a fish out of water," I started surfing the internet for information on SIDS. I came across two web sites that I found helpful. One was and the other was I started reading posts on The stories really touched my heart. had information about a walk taking place about 60 miles from our town. I contacted my family members and told them about the walk. Thirteen of us attended that walk. I wondered why our community area didn't have a walk. We have the third highest SIDS rate in the state, but we are not the third largest community area.

I contacted Patty who is the director for the Iowa SIDS Foundation and asked her how to organize a walk. She told me what is involved. I told her I wanted to do it for 2008 and would get in-touch with her.

In 2007, 4 more babies in this area died. I knew it had to stop, so again I contacted Patty and said, “It's a go.” Shortly afterward, she contacted me and said she had a mother who wanted to co-organize the walk.

I set up a meeting, placed an editorial in the newspaper about the walk meeting. About 20 people attended the meeting. We exchanged ideas and decided we could do it.

The walk was awesome! 125-150 people attended and about $10,000 dollars was raised to fund peer-to-peer training, research, education of medical professionals and bring SIDS awareness to the public. I will do it again next year and every year I am able.

Thank you my special angel Jaycee Marie Schilling, for inspiring your Grandma to get busy and do something so important! I love you.

Deb Westergreen

2600 babies under one year of age succumb to SIDS within the United States of America each year. For more informaton about SIDS please visit the subject index provided on left side bar of this blog.

Resource box: This inspirational Iowa Grandmother story was written by Deb Westergreen and posted by Jewel Sample.

Deb Westergreen and her husband share seven adult children and 21 grandchildren. In her spare time she loves getting together with family and making scrapbook greeting cards.

Jewel Sample is a children’s writer and author of Flying Hugs and Kisses. For more information about her background and publications visit her at Jewel’s Sand Box News (

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