Losing a child is difficult, especially when there are little to no answers as to why a healthy child passed away. YNN's Erin Clarke spoke with a family who is using their heartbreak to raise awareness.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Laura and Micah Sateriale suffered the unimaginable. Their 20-month-old healthy daughter Lily passed away unexpectedly.
"On February 15th we put her to bed and she had been playing all day and was happy and the next morning, when I went to wake her up, found that she had passed away during the night," said Laura.
Weeks of investigation and tests went by without a cause for Lily's death determined.
"You want an answer. You need some closure and having to wait a month is so hard. It was just unbearable," said Micah.
A month later, it was ruled that the little girl who lit up a room with her smile died from Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. The Sateriales had heard of SIDS, but not SUDC and little info came from local doctors.
"It's rare enough an event that certainly the people who are going to see it most frequently would be the medical examiners or those individuals that are involved with investigating childhood or infant death and therefore, it's really not a common entity clinically," said Onondaga County Chief Medical Examiner Robert Stoppacher.
SUDC, like SIDS, is the sudden and unexpected death of a child that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation. SUDC refers to children over 12 months of age and is less common than SIDS.
"There may be families out there who have experienced this and are just left with the basic, 'sorry we don't have answers' and some of these people might not even know that it would be classified as SUDC," said Laura.
Now the Sateriales are on a mission to keep Lily's memory alive by educating others about SUDC and in her honor, they're organizing a walk this spring.
"We're hoping one day from raising awareness about SUDC that there will be a time when families won't have to deal with SUDC," said Micah.
The Sateriales’ event Lily's Walk for Answers will be a 5K held at Long Branch Park on September 23rd. All proceeds from the walk will benefit the SUDC Program, an organization working to educate the public about Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.
For more information, visit www.sudc.org and www.lilyswalk.org.