Baby a victim of SIDS; Saturday's benefit raises scholarship money

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

With Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) still mostly a mystery to doctors and medical field experts, Sonya Thrush was baffled when her healthy son died unexpectedly.

"Right now there are probably about 500 theories, but nothing solid or anything that can be pinpointed," said Thrush of the syndrome. "It's horrifying when there's no answers."

Thrush and her husband John Thrush lost their first born, JohnCarlo H. Thrush, at nine-weeks and six-days to SIDS. Sonya said in January 2005, JohnCarlo was put in his crib about 10 p.m. and normally he would wake up for feedings about every four hours. That particular night on Jan. 25, 2005, she said her husband got up to go to the bathroom about 2 a.m. and got a glimpse of the baby in the crib, which was in their bedroom.

"He just looked and knew something was wrong," said Sonya, an Alice native who resides in San Antonio. "(JohnCarlo) wasn't breathing."

She said they immediately administered CPR and the ambulance arrived and JohnCarlo was transported to a local hospital by helicopter. JohnCarlo did not survive.

"He wasn't coming back," she said.

Since JohnCarlo's death, the family has implemented several memorials each year, one in San Antonio and the other in Alice. Alice's memorial is a Spooktacular Bowl-a-Thon at Paladium Bowl. The JohnCarlo Memorial Scholarship fund proceeds go towards scholarships for high school seniors.

The bowl is Saturday at 7 p.m. and teams of four can participate for $100 a team. Along with the bowling tournament, a raffle and best original Halloween costume contest will also take place that night. And a bowling lane for children will also be available.

According to reports, sometimes a baby who seems healthy dies during sleep. This is called SIDS, also known as crib death.

In most cases, a parent or caregiver places the baby down to sleep and returns later to find the baby has died. It's no one's fault.

Although SIDS is rare, the report said, it is one of the most common causes of death in babies between one and 12 months of age.

Most babies who die of SIDS are between the ages of two and four months. More boys than girls die of SIDS, and most deaths occur in the winter.

JohnCarlo's grandmother, Mary Saenz said the bowl-a-thon, in its second year in Alice, is a way to heal and help others through a tragic situation. Saenz and her husband, Ramiro, help organize the bowl-a-thon in Alice.

"This is one way we keep up his memory," she said. "We believe a lot in education and the scholarships stay here for the seniors."

Mary said that her grandson would have turned three in November.

Last year, the money raised was enough for three $500 scholarships.

The San Antonio fundraiser is also a bowl-a-thon and that money goes to a non-profit organization, "Any Baby Can."

Sonya said if a positive can come out of a terrible situation, then her son's death will not have been in vain.

"I had heard of it (SIDS), but I never thought it would happen to me," she said.