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Ty's 15th birthday

Debbie Gemmill

Reprinted with the author's permission

Ty's 15th birthday was yesterday, October 22, 1996. Since his death, approximately 120,000 babies have died from SIDS. That happens to be the size of my city. I asked the audience to imagine what might happen if no one in my city woke up one day. 120,000 people just dead, with no warning whatsoever. What would happen?

I think that there would be an immediate intensive investigation into what caused the tragedy. I think doctors, scientists, experts of all sorts would be called in to find the answer. I think there would be immediate and ongoing support for the victims' families. And somehow I don't think there would be any problem finding the money to do all of this (especially if it was an election year!)

But when a baby dies, even 120,000 babies, those things don't seem to happen. Perhaps it's because a baby's death is so silent.

Things are changing, and I do think things are better overall than they were that awful day in May 1982. We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.

Ty's birthday was yesterday. He is still here.

Debbie Gemmill

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