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
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 am currently serving as the Chair of the society and look forward to many years of supporting the society and its mission and vision.
In May 2014, I became a mother and 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. In March of 2017, I gave birth to my second daughter, Lily Pearl, who was born still at just 22 weeks. I am also mother to Elliott and Olive, two sweet children who honour and miss their sisters dearly.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Ian Mitchell
Dr Mitchell was recruited to Alberta Children’s Hospital as physician to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and a children’s lung disease specialist and to University of Calgary as Associate Professor, Paediatrics, in 1982. He had been involved with SIDS parents in his previous position. A SIDS parent and a pediatric colleague in Calgary invited him to join the parent support group. Since then, he has acted as a professional/scientific advisor to the SIDS parent’s and the SIDS support group in Calgary. He has also been involved nationally and internationally in developing alliances of SIDS support groups.
He is now Professor Emeritus, Cumming School of Medicine with patient care focused on long term care of children with chronic lung diseases. His research has been, and is, in four main areas: asthma, viral infection in infancy (epidemiology and prevention), child protection issues (medical child abuse) and bioethics. He has authored, co-authored, submitted chapters or edited several books and multiple peer reviewed articles.
In 2021 he was given the Alan Ross Award, the Canadian Paediatric Society’s most prestigious award, citing, among other activities, pioneering work in ensuring children dependent om medical technology could be cared for at home. He was also given the 2021 AMA Compassionate Service Award, citing work on supporting those affected by SIDS.
Dr. Richard Wilson
Professor Richard Wilson is an international leader in investigating cardiorespiratory control, with 35 years of neuroscience research experience and over 90 peer-reviewed publications. With undergraduate (University of Sussex), PhD (University of Glasgow) and Post Doctoral (University of California San Diego; New York Medical College; University of Calgary) training in neuroscience, Wilson has a deep passion for studying the brain. For the last 25 years, Wilson’s research has focus on the autonomic nervous system, particularly cardiorespiratory control, respiratory chemosensitivity, and the biological mechanisms of associated diseases including SIDS. Wilson is an Alberta Innovates Senior Scholar, runs an active research laboratory at the University of Calgary and co-leads the University’s BRAIN CREATE training program. A number of Wilson’s former trainees have set up independent laboratories that continue the search for the cause of SIDS.
I am the proud aunt of Quinn Isla Cormier who passed away too soon in December 2014. Being a SIDS Calgary Society Board member and helping start the Quinn’s Legacy Run Society has been a way to continue to honour her. I believe in the power of this community and the continued need for education and familial support. Professionally, I work as a physiotherapist in Calgary with specialties in orthopaedics and pelvic health.
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.
I currently work as a high school science teacher in Calgary. I was born in South Africa and moved with my parents to Calgary in the early 2000s. After completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, I went on to complete a Master of Science degree in 2016 at the University of British Columbia, My thesis investigated the genetic overlap of SIDS and other sudden death disorders, like Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. While at UBC, I also completed a public health research project on Canadian women’s access to hormonal contraceptives. Since then, I’ve continued working on SIDS and public health research with Dr. Ian Mitchell. I’ve also done further research on my original MSc project with Dr. Alica Goldman at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Through being a teacher, and working with SIDS Calgary, I feel lucky to spend each day working to improve the lives of families and children.