Charity golf event aims at sudden unexplained death of children
October 1, 2013
Dan Pudenz, and his wife Carrie, who were married in November 2010, are pictured with first daughter Addie. The Pudenzes are hosting a golf tournament on Sunday at TPC Deere Run to raise money for research and prevention of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. Addie passed away at age 15 months.
Dan Pudenz played defensive nose guard on football teams at Carroll High School, where he graduated in 2005, and otherwise did a lot of farm work. So now at age 26 he's a relative newcomer to golf.
But he's quickly grown very enthusiastic about the game, and he has even more reason these days to give it his best shot. Pudenz, and his wife, Carrie, a Quad Cities-area native who live in Milian, Ill., are motivated these days to doing all they can to help solve mysteries of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.
The Pudenzes lost their 15-month-old daughter Addie June to SUDC on June 6, 2011.
Addison had just had a routine doctor's check-up the day before and was declared to be in very good health.
The next morning, dad gave Addie a kiss goodbye when she left for her baby sitter's home.
The sitter put Addie down for a nap that afternoon, and Addie never woke up.
Ambulance and Rock Island, Ill., hospital emergency-room personnel did CPR on Addie for more than an hour.
Dan and Carrie were left stunned, grief-stricken and without answers.
Over time, Dan and Carrie have picked themselves back up. Dan, who's an on-site supervisor for Manpower, and Carrie, who works in the payroll department at Lujack Honda in the Quad Cities, now have a 16-month-old daughter, Gwen, born May 24, 2012, who's their pride and joy.
However, Dan says of the loss of Addie, "I don't know if there's any good way to deal with it. Obviously there's not a day that goes by that she doesn't run across your mind. That's something that's going to stick with us forever."
And that's driving the Pudenz family's organization of their inaugural SUDC Charity Golf Classic on Sunday, Oct. 6, at Quad Cities' TPC Deere Run, which is also site of the PGA's annual John Deere Classic.
The Pudenzes have set a goal of raising $10,000 to donate to the SUDC Program for research and prevention.
And they're making a good run at it.
Dan, son of Darrell and Sandy Pudenz of rural Lidderdale, said in a recent phone interview that he expects close to a full field, with 138 golfers, and nearly all sponsorships for holes are purchased. Dan's even getting support from home. Dad drives a truck hauling produce and meat and mom works at Pella Corp. in Carroll. The Pudenzes and close family friend contractor John Heuton, also from the Lidderdale area, are each sponsoring a hole.
Darrell Pudenz says of his willingness to support the event, "Down the road we want to have better awareness and observation of what they (parents) can do for this (SUDC prevention). There's equipment available that monitors heartbeat and pulse, and an alarm goes off so you have a chance to resuscitate. It's one of those things that it doesn't happen very often, but if I were to have a child right now, that would be the first thing on my mind. I'd want to do whatever I could to prevent it."
Dan Pudenz says, "We know what it's like to lose a child, and if we can help prevent somebody else from going through that, we'll do our best to do that. We want to help with research as much as we can."
Another goal of the golf event is to raise awareness of SUDC.
Dan explained that SUDC and possibly the more familiar Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are basically the same thing, with SIDS the name given to incidents to children up to a year old and SUDC for children older than 1.
Dan shared some information about SUDC:
- SUDC is not new, but it is very rare. It occurs approximately in 1.4 in 100,000 children.
- At this time, it cannot be predicted or prevented.
- SUDC was founded in 2001 as part of the CJ (Carly Jenna) Foundation. The program provides information, support services, advocacy and promotes research. Laura Crandall and Chelsea Hilbert co-founded the organization. Both are SUDC parents.
- The SUDC Program serves families and professionals in over 15 countries.
- SUDC had been worked with lawmakers on legislation that will improve comprehensive investigations nationwide, collect crucial data on these children which will assist researchers in pursuing the cause, and provide for public health messages and support services.
In Addie's casket, the Pudenzes placed some of her favorite toys, the white fisherman's hat that Dan bought for her at Old Navy, and the rhyming picture book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear."
"Every time you said, 'Go get a book,' that's what she got," Dan said. "She could listen to it a thousand times, and she still wanted it more."
Dan said that at 15 months Addie "was just really starting to get mobile. She was starting to run. She was starting to talk a little bit. She had a very happy personality. She was always going around with a smile. She was very happy, and it was a joy having her around."
Dan knows friends and other potential supporters for SUDC Program cause can't easily come to TPC Deere Run for the golf charity, but they can still help the cause by making a donation through the SUDC Golf Charity website, sudc.org/golfclassic.
Darrell Pudenz says of the potential impact of support for the cause, "Just some simple things can help out a lot, and they're doing more research. They're coming up with a lot of different stuff. Then if something did happen, you'd at least have a chance. There's nothing worse than having no way to remedy a situation like that."
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