WHAT CHEER- Taking a tragedy and turning it into a time of support, encouragement and celebration is what the Walk for the Future is all about.
The 16th annual Iowa SIDS Foundation Walk For the Future will be held on Aug. 22 at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds on 13061 170th Street. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 9 a.m.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an otherwise healthy infant up to one year old. The purpose of the Walk for the Future is to raise awareness of SIDS and raise funds for the Iowa SIDS Foundation.
The walk in What Cheer is one of seven being held in different regions across the state, including events in Ankeny, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, LeMars, Mason City, and Washington.
What Cheer Organizer, Robin Wright lost a baby to SIDS 35 years ago. Four years ago, Wright took over the organizational duties for the What Cheer walk after the town went for several years without one.
“It’s a happy day,” said Wright. “It brings back grief but I can talk about it if I need to and the walk is a way to share with people who have been through the same situation.”
The walk will begin with a balloon release in memory of children who have died from SIDS. Walkers can then circle the fairground track as many times as they wish.
“It’s not time. It’s a family-oriented event, more of a family celebration,” said Wright. “It’s a time to get together to raise awareness, share memories and share joy.”
Those interested in walking can register in advance or the day of the event. Walker’s registration fees are just one of the way the Iowa SIDS Foundation raises its funds. Some area residents who are unable to walk give a direct donation to the event. Other walkers choose to take pledges for their own walking.
All proceeds from the annual walks go to the day-to-day operation that support the foundation’s mission of support, education, and hope. An example being such things as staff, support materials, peer contact training, memorials, safe sleep presentations, and our annual research donation.
According to the Iowa SIDS Foundation, SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies from one month to one year of age. Every year, approximately 4,500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in the United States. Of these about 2,300 are diagnosed as SIDS.
To register, request registration forms or receive additional information, visit iowasids.org or contact Wright at 515-681-4782.
— Megan Berberich can be reached at email@example.com and followed @CourierMegan