SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Hundreds hit the pavement Sunday to help raise money for SIDS research, including one local 6-year-old.
“I want to help save babies!” Jack smiled.
The race, in its 22nd year, began long before Jack was born.
Surrounded by family, friends, and complete strangers, Barry Metayer explains how the SIDS Race for Life came to be. “It’s in memory of our son Barry Metayer Jr. who died 27 years ago. A great group of friends, led by Congressman Neal, started this race to try to honor our son’s memory and raise some funds to support SIDS research and family services across the state.”
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexpected death of a child under the age of 1, where an autopsy doesn’t show a cause of death.
Barry Jr. only lived to be 8 days old because of SIDS.
However, he continues to inspire hundreds of participants packing Springfield’s Obrien’s in his memory, including Congressman Richard Neal. “Barry Metayer is a high school friend of mine and he’s been a great supporter over all of these decades and when they lost a child we decided to do something. Not only in memory of their child, but just as importantly, calling attention to SIDS. This is one of those incidences where research is making progress,” he said.
Each year several thousand babies still die from SIDS here in Massachusetts, but folks here in the western part of the state say they don’t need a personal connection to help out. “It means that it doesn’t have to be about you. You can do something good for someone else that doesn’t really affect you at all but it’s just about being generous. That’s all,” said participant Katie Levesque. “Our little cousin died of SIDS recently, so we’re doing this for my uncle and my cousin. It makes me really happy that other people come to support the cause. It’s just awesome. It’s an awesome feeling,” Keirsten Forest-Williams stated.
“Our goal when we started was to save one baby’s life. We thought it’s be all worthwhile if we could accomplish that, and I think the great thing is through research, family services, and education, the SIDS rate has gone down in Massachusetts. We think, in some small way, we’ve contributed to that,” Barry Metayer shared.
Today’s race pulled in over $25,000. All proceeds will benefit the Massachusetts Center for SIDS.
To date, the race has raised over $500,000.