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North Park benefit race remembers toddler

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Submitted
Molly O'Laughlin, a fifth grader at Poff Elementary, wants to educate people about Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) following the death of her cousin, Adeline O'Laughlin, who was 14 months old when she died. This is similar to Sudden Infact Death Syndrome (SIDS) but is less common and many people are unaware of it.

Adeline O'Laughlin was a “ray of sunshine” in her family.

The toddler had a full head of brown ringlets and a constant smile on her face. She loved to laugh, sing and dance.

However, on Oct. 18, 2012, Adeline, then 14 months old, died in her sleep from Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, or SUDC.

SUDC is similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but is a lesser-known category used when an apparently healthy child older than 12 months dies without warning and without a known cause found afterward.

The tragedy hit her relatives, who are coming together to organize the inaugural Adeline's Angels 5K run/1- mile fun walk on Oct. 27 to benefit the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program based out of Hackensack, N. J., which funds research and advocates for those affected by SUDC.

To remember her cousin and help support the fundraising efforts for the SUDC program, Molly O'Laughlin, 10, of Hampton, started creating and selling yarn flowers to be worn in the hair or pinned on a jacket.

Sales started slowly over the summer, but Molly set a goal of raising $250, enough for her name to be printed on the back of the race shirts.

“Everybody else was doing something, and I wanted to help,” Molly said.

With the help of Facebook to get the word out, Molly was able to raise close to $300 to benefit the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program.

“I'm very proud of her,” said Gina O'Laughlin, Molly's mother. “I knew she could do it. She is the type of girl when she gets her mind set on something she gets it done.”

“It's been very difficult for the whole family. … We know we can't bring Adeline back, but it makes her feel good, and she knows she's helping, in some way, her aunt make this (race) a success.”

Adeline's mother, Darlene O'Laughlin, said she was overwhelmed by the support of her family to organize the race to remember Adeline and benefit the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program, from the oldest to the youngest.

“I was very touched that (Molly) felt strongly enough to be part of the event for her baby cousin that she went to these lengths to do it,” said Darlene O'Laughlin, of Shaler.

“The day she called me to tell me she reached her goal, … I had tears coming down my face. I couldn't be prouder of her.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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