NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Niagara County mother is sharing her story of loss in the hope that it helps other families. Margaret Vincent's 15-month-old son Owen passed away in January of 2018. Like his twin sister Laci, Owen had been a healthy toddler, and his death shocked his loved ones.
"Nobody really expects to put their completely healthy 15-month-old to bed and not wake up in the morning," Margaret said. "Owen was completely healthy. Never had any signs of illness."
Within days, Margaret had somewhat of an answer from the medical examiner. Owen's death fell within a category called "Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood." It's not a cause of death, and there's no way to predict it, but according to the CDC, it's the 5th leading category of death among children ages 1-4.
Margaret was connected with the SUDC Foundation, which is a national organization that connects families all over the world who have lost children the same way. An estimated 400 children are lost every year to SUDC, but many people have never heard of it.
"Most people know about SIDS and the problem of infant death, but what people rarely know about is that sometimes these types of deaths can occur after the first birthday," explained Laura Gould Crandall, who is the President of the SUDC Foundation.
"You share a connection and you grieve for other people's children. And as terrible as that is, that's what connects us. Because nobody should ever lose a child," said Vincent.
The Vincent family is making sure Owen's memory will never be lost. The second annual Smiles for Owen Fundraiser will be held Saturday, July 20th at Forestview Church in Niagara Falls. Last year Smiles for Owen raised $3,000 for the SUDC Foundation.
"We never charge any family for the support and information and advocacy they receive. So it does go to fund some of our family services that are so vital. It also funds research," said Gould Crandall.