Family plans SIDS fundraising event in memory of daughter
Lillie Ann Marie Seibel was a princess; a girly-girl who always wanted to be held by her mother.
That’s how her parents, Tom and Michelle Seibel, of Lansing, remember the daughter they lost in April 2009 due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Lillie was 9 months old when she died, and now her parents are planning a fundraiser event to benefit the organization that got them through such a devastating time.
“For me now, it’s a celebration of my daughter’s life,” Michelle said. “She was very happy, very easy going. She loved to laugh and she had a great smile.”
Lillie’s Strike Out SIDS Bowl-a-Thon will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Skyway Lanes, 5037 S. 4th St., Leavenworth. Donations collected at the event will go toward SIDS Resources Inc.
SIDS Resources is a non-profit organization that serves the Kansas City area, helping SIDS families through support and offering community education in the goal of reducing the risk of SIDS.
Although all the lanes for bowling have already been filled up, the Seibels said the public was still invited to attend the event and support the ultimate cause.
According to SIDS Resources Inc., Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the leading cause of deaths of infants between one month and one year of age. About 30 to 35 cases of SIDS occur every year in the Kansas City area.
The unexpected death that occurs when an infant is thought to be sleeping is labeled SIDS when the autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death.
Lillie died during her afternoon nap at daycare. Michelle said she received a call that her daughter had been taken to the hospital.
“They were never able to revive her,” Michelle said.
Both Michelle and Tom said they had heard of SIDS at the time of Lillie’s death, but hadn’t given it much thought because it’s not something that is vocalized often and they already had one healthy child, Cole, who is now 4.
Michelle said because there are only ways to reduce the risk, and not ways to completely prevent SIDS, she feels most people aren’t given much information.
“People need to be aware of it,” Michelle said. “Most people know about it, but they don’t really think about it.”
Following Lillie’s death, the Seibels found SIDS Resources Inc. The support group helped them cope with their loss, they said, and helped them understand others had experienced the same tragedy.
“We really felt alone,” Michelle said about her feelings prior to finding SIDS Resources. “We didn’t know any other parents who have lost a child.”
The Seibels have been going to a SIDS Resources meeting once a month since Lillie’s death.
“Seeing other people go down that road was helpful to see life does go on,” Michelle said.
That’s where the bowl-a-thon comes in.
Michelle said a lot of the focus of the event would be to honor the families and babies that have been lost to SIDS. Bowling lanes have been purchased in the name of lost children and a balloon release in their memory will end the event.
There will also be raffle tickets and a kid’s craft table throughout the Saturday event.
“It’s a family event,” Tom said about why the bowl-a-thon was chosen. “We wanted to do something kids could do with their families.”
“It’s been therapeutic to do this for her,” Michelle added. “Since she can’t be here with us, we just want to honor her. It feels good that we’re not just sitting back, doing nothing.”
For more information about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and about the various programs offered by SIDS Resources, Inc., go online to sidsresources.org.