SARASOTA, FL – This evening the 5th Annual Candlelight Vigil for Shaken Baby Syndrome took place with around 60 people in attendance. Rachel Sumner, Founder of the Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network, thanked everyone for coming from around the country and asked everyone to stand up and introduce themselves to those around them.
Trevor Bise Paour, an 11 year old shaken baby syndrome survivor, spoke about his experience. He then said “thank you and I’ll always love and support you all for getting through it, and it makes you stronger in the long run. It’s just sad to see victims die for something that never should have happened.”
Christina Farnsworth, Victim Advocate Supervisor at Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, spoke about her role in helping victims and how sad it is to see children who have been injured by shaken baby syndrome (SBS). Angela Cook, Vice President, SBS Support Network, said that unfortunately “it is the impulse decision making that can lead to devastation for years to come.”
Connie Shingledecker is the Manatee County Child Death Review Committee Chair, Florida Statewide Child Death Review Team. She discussed how SBS is “caused by someone who is in the caregiver role of the baby and they are usually alone and frustrated.” She also said, “One thing to watch is how the child reacts when they see an individual.”
Chris Keane, Lawyer for SBS Survivors in Civil Lawsuits, told the crowd that, “often when the critical event occurs the doctors find that there are old bleeds and fractures,” which means that the abuse had been going on before the traumatic event.
Steve Stowe Founder, Shaken Baby of Virginia, Inc. spoke about his experience where his grandson died when he was three years old as a result of being shaken. Mr. Stowe, also spoke about his involvement in getting Virginia to pass a law that “requires that parents watch a video and sign a promissory note regarding SBS before they can take their baby home.” Sherry Mitchell, who is with the Sarasota County Homicide Bereavement Parents of Murdered Children (P.O.M.C.) said another angle of prevention is to encourage the “schools to highlight the dangers of shaking a baby.”
Patrick Donohue, Father, Sarah Jane Donohue and Founder, The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation spoke about the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan and how it could help those impacted by SBS.
At the end of the vigil, each member of the audience impacted by SBS lit a candle and took a moment of silence for those who have died and for those who have been injured by SBS.