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Child’s unexplained death inspires benefit

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:53 p.m. CDT
(Provided Photo)
Emmett Frank was 16 months old when he died in his sleep Oct. 15 of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.

SYCAMORE – Emmett Frank's mother remembers him as a baby with a big personality who was always smiling.

“Emmett was a cute little blue-eyed, blonde-haired baby,” said Kristy Marczewski-Frank. “He always wanted to play, he never really cried. He always wanted to be involved in everything we were doing. He was just a really happy baby.”

Emmett died in his sleep Oct. 15 at 16 months old of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. SUDC is the death of a healthy child older than 12 months without warning or a clear cause, according to the SUDC program’s website.

Emmett’s father, Jeffrey Frank, said he hopes an answer can be found through research.

To honor Emmett and raise funds for the SUDC program, which researches SUDC and provides support to families, Emmett’s family is holding the inaugural Answers for Emmett run. The run will be held Sunday at the Fox River Trail, behind the Kane County Government Center in Geneva. Frank said almost $40,000 has already been raised for the program through the family’s efforts.

The Franks are the owners of Spex Expressions in Sycamore and live in North Aurora.

“[SUDC is] scary,” Frank said. “We want to raise awareness of the SUDC foundation to try to find a scientific reason for this.”

Frank said Sunday’s event will be “a lot of family fun” with food and games. The event will feature a 5K run and auctions, with proceeds benefiting the program’s bereavement services and medical research. The program is a “resource for information, support and advocacy,” according to the program’s website.

“We’re trying to have an answer as to why these kids go to sleep as a perfectly healthy baby and then they don’t wake up in the morning,” Marczewski-Frank said. “We’re hoping by raising awareness and funds for research that one day we’ll have an answer or cure for why these children die in their sleep.”

Frank said Emmett’s blood has been banked for genetic testing, which he hopes will help provide answers. Although this year’s run is inaugural, he hopes to continue the event each year.

“We’re hoping that one day we’ll find a cure and the reason as to why our son passed away,” Marczewski-Frank said. “I just hope that people understand that this horrible thing does happen to families every day. I hope people can rally behind trying to come up with a cure. We’re just trying to bring this to the forefront to hopefully get doctors and hospitals to try to pay attention to this instead of it being ignored.”

Know more

SUDC is a Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood of a child older than 12 months. For more information about SUDC and the Answers for Emmett run visit sudc.org/answersforemmett.

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