SIDS Calgary Society

SIDS Calgary Society is committed to providing support to families, representing the interests of parents, educating healthcare professionals as well as the public, and raising funds for SIDS research.

SIDS Calgary Society began as a parent support group in Calgary. In 1976, it transformed from a parent group to a chapter affiliated with the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (CFSID, now known as Baby’s Breath.) It wasn’t until June 22, 2000 that the Calgary Chapter became “SIDS Calgary Society”, dropping its affiliation with the CFSID, and a year late, it became an official registered charity.

SIDS Calgary Society raises funds by way of fundraising events such as casino nights and annual picnics. A proud moment was SCS’s third casino night in 2000 where they raised $106,000 in one night.

The new dragon fly logo represents strength, joy and bravery. It’s a creature of water and air, and air means freedom. The idea of using the dragonfly for SIDS is particularly appropriate since this creature is both beautiful and ephemeral. And it is flying up… as if to the sky.

WHO WE ARE

Sarah Cormier

Chair

In August 2014, Quinn Isla joined our family and we celebrated. What joy she brought us and continues to bring us. She left our arms way too soon as she passed away December 28,2014 when she fell asleep and never woke up. My family connected me with SIDS Calgary Society within a few days and so began my journey to becoming part of the board. In May 2015, we started a society in Quinn’s honour to help support families financially after the sudden loss of an infant. We partnered with SIDS Calgary shortly after that and I joined the board in October 2015. I have recently been elected as the Vice President of the society and look forward to many years of supporting the society and its mission and vision.

Gillian Hatto

Vice Chair

In May 2014, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Hazel Rose. In August of the same year, she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep. Since then I have been on a journey through grief that has also led me to searching out ways in which to support other families facing the loss of a child. I joined SIDS Calgary Society in October 2015 and have helped coordinate the bi-monthly parent support group as well as the annual Remembering Together Picnic. I look forward to many more opportunities to bring families together to honour and celebrate their child’s life.

Monica Ruff

Treasurer

I was introduced to SIDS in 1990 working on a University of Calgary research project collecting data from Medical Examiner files on infant deaths in Alberta. This research has continued to the present date.  Over these years, I met many parents whose babies died of SIDS and learned about their personal journeys.  In 2012, I joined the SIDS Calgary Society Board. I assumed the role of treasurer in 2015.  It is a privilege to work beside parents, who in spite of their own loss, support other bereaved parents and fund education programs and research.

Jay Drager

Registrar

On October 25, 1990 Gail and I lost our son Eric, a twin, to SIDS. We were directed to the then Calgary Chapter of CFSID (now Baby’s Breath) to help with our grief. We met many other parents through the support meetings and over time were able to share with and support other newly bereaved parents. The Calgary Chapter became SIDS Calgary Society through the hard work and dedication of many others which prompted me to become more involved, other than hanging banners and bake sales, and I was elected to the board as Registrar. It has been an honour to continue as the Registrar and support the parents, the professional group, researchers, many volunteers and our society’s mission.

Megan Karmann

Secretary

Megan Karmann is the cousin of Quinn Isla Cormier, who was four months old when she passed away from SIDS December 28, 2014. Megan is a Registered Nurse who works in the Emergency Room. She has a passion for working with children and their families, and would like to help develop educational materials to help families and health care providers better understand SIDS and bereavement. This is her first year on the SIDS Calgary Board.

Dr. Ian Mitchell

Medical Advisory

I came to Calgary in 1982 as physician to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and a children’s lung disease specialist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. I was involved with SIDS in his previous position. When I came to Calgary, a SIDS parent who was a nurse at the hospital, had involved a colleague with the parent support group. They both invited me to join the group, and I have acted as a professional/scientific advisor to the SIDS parent support group in Calgary since then.

Nicole Orsi Barioni

Director

I am originally from Brazil and graduated there in biomedicine in 2012. After concluding my master`s degree I had the amazing opportunity of coming to Canada for my PhD degree. I am now finishing my first year of the neuroscience program at the University of Calgary, developing a project related to SIDS. I had the first contact with the SCS at the casino night in October 2016. I had a great moment among SCS members which gave a whole new meaning to my PhD. Therefore I joined the board as a director in November 2016 and I hope to contribute to SCS in the same positive way SCS is contributing to my life.

Kara MacKay

Director

I work in Calgary as a Public Health Inspector with Alberta Health Services, and have a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science from the University of British Columbia and an Advanced Degree in Environmental Health. I have a comprehensive knowledge and familiarity with the Public Health Act, its regulations and standards, and have served on many multidisciplinary committees.  I was also a non-parent board member of the Westmount Charter School from 2012-2014. In May of 2015, the unexpected death of our five year old daughter, Lucy, brought me to a grief workshop at the Alberta Children’s Hospital’s Rotary Flames House. It was here I met and came to know several families who had experienced the loss of a young and whose death had been labelled as “undetermined”. Through them I have grown increasingly aware of the overwhelming challenges facing those families and it’s my hope that my compassion, knowledge, experience and desire to make a difference will be a good addition to the Board.

George Dalekos

Director

In Aug of 1999 my wife and I lost our baby girl, Calysta Tiana Dalekos to SIDS, which is to say we don’t know why she really died suddenly and unexpectedly (SUDI or SUID).  My wife and I attended parent support meetings with the SIDS Calgary Society to help manage our grief and seek out other parents who had experienced the same situation.  It was truly amazing to see how the small act of hosting a meeting for parents to come together and just share their situation had such a large and positive impact on their lives.  Watching that process happen and also learning more about what the SIDS Calgary Society was doing with regards to education and supporting various research initiatives really inspired me to join the board and help out. After working closely with the board for a few years, I was further inspired by how a small group of volunteers can make such a large impact on so many people’s lives. In 2004, I was voted in as Chair of the SIDS Calgary Society and continue in that role today.  It continues to be a privilege to work with such a dedicated, passionate and professional group of people that are so focused on our society’s mission.

Kevin Wong

Director

I’ve been a resident of Calgary since 1986, where I followed my dual passions through undergraduate and graduate work in both urban planning and the medical sciences.  In particular, I contributed to a greater understanding of the physiological aspects of the role of the vagal nerve and SIDS.  More recently, after befriending several SIDS Calgary Society Board members, hearing their stories of loss and seeing their renewed commitment to their families, I was easily convinced to join the Board.  I have served as a volunteer for AIDS Calgary, and as a board member for the South Calgary Community Association, and Apollo – Friends in Sports Club.  When time and budget allow, I tag along my partner of 23 years indulging in food and travel. I am passionate about bringing my insights, life experiences, and empathy to the SIDS Calgary Society.

Delshani Peiris

Director

I am a population and public health researcher and graduate student at the University of Calgary. I learned about the significance of sudden infant death through my supervisor, Dr. Ian Mitchell. Since meeting him, I have become immersed SIDS research and discourse, safe sleep messaging and education, and health promotion and support resources for parents with new infants. It is an honor to serve as a Director for SIDS Calgary.

Cathy Decker

Director

On February 8th, 2016 my husband, Ryan, and I welcomed our first child into the world. Avery Violet Decker. She changed me, for the better, in every single way. Becoming a parent taught me the true meaning of love. I absolutely loved every day I spent with her. Avery was my shining star and the brightest light. Sadly, during an afternoon nap, on March 9, 2017 she passed away silently and suddenly. I joined the SIDS Calgary Board because I want every parent who loses a child to know that they are not alone. I want to be a part of events that honour the children who have left our world way too soon. I want to be a part of an organization that raises awareness of this tragedy and work towards finding an answer to “why” this happens. I believe being a part of SIDS Calgary is a way to honour Avery’s life.