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Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 14:59:59 -0700
From: Nancy Eckert
Subject: International Conference

I just wanted to echo Debbie Gemmill's (and others') sentiments about the conference this week. Although somewhat overwhelming in the scope and quality of presentations, I cannot begin to convey how gratifying it was (is) to have so many people...physicians, researchers, public health officials, and of course, parents...committed to our cause. It meant so much to me personally to be able to put some faces with e-mail addresses: Chuck and Deb Mihalko, Ned Balzer and his family, Steve Ruggiero, Kaaren Fitzgerald, our "docs" Tom Keens and John Carroll and the rest of our Internet "community". The level of commitment and compassion is truly astounding.

I wanted to make a special note of the memorial service held on Monday night. Our "very own" Debbie Gemmill and Nancy Marayama (from Chicago) were the chairpersons for this beautiful "gift" to all of the parents in attendance. At the registration table, each SIDS parent was given an 8" x 8" square of felt--green, blue, red, yellow and white--and pens with which to write their child's names and dates (if desired). Many hours were spent tying each of the 500 or so squares together to make one beautiful (and huge!) quilt. On Monday evening, as we all walked into the immense auditorium, the quilt was the first thing we saw...it was hanging over the stage area and the effect was startling: sad but breathtaking. Following several offerings of song and spoken words, the reading of the names of the babies took place. Name after precious name...it was a moment I will never forget. For those of you who were unable to be there, please know that we were remembering your little ones as well...

I just wanted to try and share a tiny bit of that moment with all of you and to publicly thank Debbie and Nancy for their extraordinary effort. On a personal note, I believe Debbie and Nancy are two gifts sent to me by my son Cory...

We will try to share more of the sessions of the conference with you, if you so desire...

Nancy Eckert

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