Charlotte's memory spurs on SIDS walk entrant

SIDS Stampede running festival founder Brenda King with Team Charlotte members Meaghan Dolezal from Yellow Rock, her son Caleb, daughter Olivia and friend Max Briggs at Winmalee Community Preschool last Friday. Olivia is holding a portrait of Charlotte Dolezal, who died suddenly from SIDS on August 6, 2013. The SIDS Stampede is on September 7.

SIDS Stampede running festival founder Brenda King with Team Charlotte members Meaghan Dolezal from Yellow Rock, her son Caleb, daughter Olivia and friend Max Briggs at Winmalee Community Preschool last Friday. Olivia is holding a portrait of Charlotte Dolezal, who died suddenly from SIDS on August 6, 2013. The SIDS Stampede is on September 7.

Meaghan Dolezal from Yellow Rock will take to the starting line of the SIDS Stampede in Windsor on September 7, inspired by the memory of her youngest daughter who died when just three months old.

"Charlotte May was born a healthy baby girl weighing seven pounds on April 27, 2013 and we were able to go home from the hospital within 24 hours," Mrs Dolezal said.

"She was fine for the entire time and then one morning (August 6, 2013) she didn't wake up."

Mrs Dolezal said an autopsy report released and a coroner's report confirmed Charlotte's death was caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

"SIDS just doesn't seem to have a pattern and it can happen to a baby or infant anywhere without notice," she said.

"That's the horror with SIDS - you don't get the chance to really get to know them."

Mrs Dolezal said when she found out about the SIDS Stampede event a few months ago she knew she had to be a part of it.

"I'm just like anyone else and this could happen to anyone - it's so important that more research is done.

"The pre-school community in Winmalee that my children Caleb (3) and Olivia (5) go to has been wonderful - they were up for supporting us straight away and some will be doing the 5km walk with us.

"Caleb is up for it too, but knowing three-year-olds he'll probably walk for about 10 minutes and then want to be carried."

Mrs Dolezal said her team's target is close to reaching the goal of raising $5,000 in the SIDS Stampede.

"Already that shows there are people in this community that really care, not just for us but about this issue too.

"The statistics show that in NSW one baby every two weeks dies from SIDS."

Close friend Amy Briggs will be walking alongside her.

"There's only so much I could say [following the loss of Charlotte to SIDS] but this is my way of contributing to a good cause and something Meaghan is so passionate about."

The SIDS Stampede is in its third year and has so far raised more than $50,000 for the SIDS and Sleep Apnoea Research Department at The Children's Hospital at Westmead.

The event's founder Brenda King said more than 600 people entered last year.

"We're hoping to have more than 1,000 participating this year and people can still register now or on the day for either the half marathon, 10km run, 5km run or 5km walk.

"One hundred per cent of all the money raised from the event will go directly towards SIDS research."

The SIDS Stampede on September 7 begins at Moses Street, Windsor, follows the Hawkesbury River and finishes at Howe Park (there are various starting times between 6.30am and 8.30am). For more information about the fundraising event visit www.sidsstampede.com.au.

To sponsor Mrs Dolezal in the 5km walk, go to sidsstampede2014.everydayhero.com/au/meaghan.

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