When deadly disease affects your family, one of the few things that can add to the tragedy is not knowing what it was. In December 2006 Erica Bond got a heartbreaking phone call saying something had happened to her infant son, Avery, at daycare. By the time she arrived at the ER, her baby boy had passed away. The doctor's conclusion was SIDS -- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome -- which actually means there was no determined cause of death.
"It's very hard not having a reason and I think as a mother you deal with a lot of guilt trying to figure out what you did wrong or what you could have done different," she said.
Now Erica is an advocate for Spring For SIDS Day, a national event coordinated by the American SIDS Institute. All this week she and her co-workers have been raising money, mostly through an ongoing silent auction in the lobby of Rolling Meadows. Donations have been flooding in from residents.
"They all just made their little themed baskets and they had a great time doing it. We've had a couple folks who made up to five different baskets and donated it," said Marketing Director Cheryl Cogdell.
Their participation in the yearly fundraiser started the year after Avery died, in his memory. A silent auction held at Rolling Meadows Retirement Community garnered a generous $1,982. Other fundraiser also brought in cash, a sign of Texoma's compassion. Bracelets were sold with Avery's name on them; a share of the proceeds made from On the Border one night, along with individual donations, gave the legacy of Avery nearly $3,000.
"There are a lot of the residents living here that were living here when Avery passed away, and they knew of the case when it happened," Cogdell said.
As an advocate for SIDS research, Erica hopes to pass her message on to others:
"It is the most horrible thing that could ever happen to a parent, but you can overcome it. It's hard, but you can."
Although the Spring For SIDS Day auction is over, you can still donate online all year long through the American SIDS Institute.