What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Each year in the United States alone, medical treatment is sought for an estimated 1,400-1,600 babies who have been shaken. Don’t let your child become just another statistic! Tell everyone who cares for your child “Never shake a baby!”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And the Winner IS.....

Dominic DeWitt - 272 votes
Madilyne Wentz - 251 votes
Duncan Youngblood - 15 votes
Juliana Thaxton - 1775 votes
Lilyana Stevens - 2 votes
Kyle Mitchell - 87 votes
Cameron Cole Critchlow - 11 votes
Madalynn Lowry - 2020 votes
Riley Gilbert - 550 votes
Xavier Delgado - 2396 votes
Zariah Warlick - 10 votes
Jasmine Lynn Steen - 1 vote
Daniella Westlin - 25 votes

To ALL the Families affected by Shaken Baby Syndrome, To all Participants in the Contest, and to all of our families, friends, and supporters;

I am so incredibly sorry that this update came delayed, this has been very overwhelming for me. Your response to this contest has been amazing, and I want to thank you ALL. Each one of you are helping over 4,000 families, and sadly the number is growing each and everyday, but we are there when destruction occurs.

The emotional last weeks of this contest, and especially the extremely emotional last 15 minutes was simply amazing. Because of this contest, we have enough funding for our families, and enough funds to re-consider the opportunity to give all the families extra support launching our official network system to link families together with others in comparable situations. Most importantly we have raised the funds to bring so many families together for the 2011 5th Annual Shaken Baby Syndrome Candlelight Vigil in Sarasota Florida April 15, 2011.

God Bless you all for everything and Congratulations to the Family of Xavier Delgado <3
We guarantee this will no longer be a silencer of our childrens voices.


Monday, September 13, 2010

~The Fire Thrown and Stones Cast~

Lately there has been so much going on, I wanted to take a moment, open my heart, and give some words to all of you, that will hopefully help you in your time of need.

There are so many times in just everyday life where we are threatened, hurt, kicked when we feel at our lowest, and only a few hands that help life us up, get back on our feet. This blog is going to tell you about that for me, and how I live with Shaken Baby Syndrome, and murder everyday.

Every single day I am in a constant battle with the demons inside my heart that are doing extreme exercises due to the anger that constantly sweeps my life because of the death of my daughter Madilyne. Every single day I get up, and I am faced with the fire thrown below my feet that I am forced to walk on because of personal and public attacks on me as a person. I never understood that even trying to do good in your life, there are attacks that come with that. I, as well as anyone else wanting to make a huge change, must learn how to block the stones, and walk through the fire.

When the letters of attack present themselves, the phone calls of hatred, and the constant way I should change what I should do in my personal life, as well as in my dreams, and the constant force of so many around me who do not believe in me I have learned that when I feel this time is coming close to me, to shut the door as a courteous behind those that don't believe in me, the ones that want to cause me and my family harm, and not read more than the first line of a letter of hate.

TV is no longer a pleasure for me. This is by choice, I know the numbers are growing everyday, I can not stop it, but I can stand firm in my shoes, and speak as loud as I possibly can, even when my voice breaks. You will hear me.. and all of the families, I can promise you that, so you might as well start listening now.

There are times as a grieving parent that you are attacked, you are taken for granted, the stones and fire are thrown at you, and I will say this to you. If you allow the negativity to prevail in your life, there will not be a brighter future for you. Do not continue to focus on the negative, that is not what your child wants. When someone tells you they know exactly how you feel, stop them, correct them, and move on. The stones, the fire, are all poison to you and your life, and you can choose to accept them. The choice in yours, once you give them back to those casting them upon you, your entire life can change.

There will never be an understanding in my heart, especially when families want to know how I deal, how I do what I do, and how I continue so positive. There is no understanding there is no answer other than determination and becoming numb to the fact that I have accepted that each day is another band aid ripped off my skin, and though the pain hurts, I become used to the fact that this is what my life is. So many look at the pictures of my life, and assume everything is whole, everything is in tact, and everything is perfect. To step into the shoes I have now, it took attempted suicides, severe drug use, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and the self inflicted pain I subjected myself to dragging my nails up and down my face to remove the mask that hid the pain I was going through. All of that started in May 2006, and ended in August 2008. Ive never been the same person since, because the pain hurts but instead of putting on the mask, and hiding the pain I wanted to wear it on my sleeve, share my heartbreak, and save someone else the pain that is self inflicted because enough of the stones and fire came from someone else.

I've took a stand, through all the destruction my life has witnessed, all the friends lost, and the family that has distanced simply because they did not know what to say, or wanted to "move on". I stood with very few during that time because I knew you do not move on or move past when murder sweeps your life, you learn how to live with the scars, you learn how to live with the constant band aid removal, and the unraveling of the bandages that you kept on as protection.

I can guarantee to all of you that someone will come into your life at some point, reopen your heart, help you feel again, allow you to show your tears, and comfort your fears. Just hold true to the faith that there is sunshine behind those storm clouds, and you too will pull through this. Allow time to heal your heart, it is all you have at this moment...

This Network was something I needed to save my life in my time when I had a suitcase in one hand and car keys, and my cellphone in the other. I made one phone call, that saved my life. You know who you are, and I owe you my life. So allow us to comfort you in your time of need. We are real people with real fear, real anger, and have lived through real destruction. This isn't a show you paid for or a professional, we did not have stable shoes then and want to help your shoes hold up somewhat better than ours did when we had to walk the path.

I will leave you with this. Hold on to your dreams, hold on to your heart it is the best leader of all. Detract the judgement and hurtful things projected towards you, move through the fire in your fire suit, walk with your chin up, shoulders back, and grab a shield to block the stones because it is bound to happen, but when you need my hand, reach for it, because I will always be here for you... all of you.. don't be afraid.. I'm here..

Love you very much
Mother to Madilyne Wentz - Shaken to death age 10 months.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"How is this helping Kassie...?" A story of sorrow, strength and hope.

I have to say through out the weeks and months that followed our Kassie’s Girl injury and death my mom was the one who kept me together.

All my life I had always been the caregiver. So when we got the call that Kassie was being rushed via ambulance to the hospital, by her mother. I went into crisis mode. My first thought was find my husband and get him to his daughter. Once we got there my next thought was get these little kids out of here. There were policemen and detectives and SRS workers everywhere. Family was crying and at this point all I knew was she was hurt we were going to be here a while and something was very wrong. So as the step-mom I took the roll of taking care of everyone else.

I don’t think the first 3 days I cried. I was so consumed with shielding myself from the reality of it. I knew I would lose control and not be able to keep being strong for my husband, Kassie’s mom, Kassie and my other children. It finally all hit me late Wednesday night. After the days events I knew it was bad really bad. But still I did not let myself go.

Wednesday started out bad and just got worse. It started with her daddy and I coming in and finding her that morning, after we arrived from caring for the other kids having non stop seizures. I knew it was bad. Then the EEG was just wrong. I had seen them before from family member’s health issues. I knew what it should look like it was not even close. The doctors told us that Wednesday night Thursday, tomorrow morning they would do the life skills test. They explained it but I don’t think we really understood it all at that time how could we. I mean 3 days ago we saw her she was bouncing, happy, smiling, loving us and here we were praying she would simply live.

What the hell was going on?? While I was busy caring for who I could; keeping myself busy my mom was watching me waiting for me to crash. And crash I did hard. Thursday morning after the life skills test, after I watched Kassie, not breathe, not blink, not move. After I watched her O2 levels drop and them put her back on life support and say sorry. We will give her one more chance but it does not look good she is brain dead. I finally could no longer hold it in.

After the life skills test I found my husband who just simply could not be in the room to watch, and comforted him. Once he was in an ok place I excused myself from the group and hurried to the church in the hospital. I cried like I have never cried in my life. I was in this huge church screaming on the floor, I had no dignity in that moment. The priest came out to check on me because the pain in those cries was beyond measure.

Thank God no one else was there to see me like that. By God’s grace my mother, who had quietly been there all week. She was helping me to focus on what was happening at the hospital because she was ensuring my other children were safe. She walked in picked me up off the floor and held me till I stopped screaming and sobbing.

You see my mother knew the pain of losing a child. Her first born, her only boy never left the hospital in his short life. My older brother died just a few short months into life because of health issues. She knew where I was and knew what to do to get me back to sanity.

After I was composed a bit, she whispered in my ear “How is this helping Kassie and the other kids? I know your heart broken but someone has to keep it together for everyone else. Who is going to make it ok for them? You cannot fall apart, everyone is looking at you to make it ok.”

Her words never rang more true. She was right, what about the other children and my husband. I was being selfish, letting myself fall apart, that was always my job to be the caretaker. My innate need to care for others; that would be what would get me through this too. Somehow she just knew exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.

I dusted myself off, dried my eyes and we returned to the family. I was ready to resume my duties as caretaker again. That evening we brought her siblings to say good bye and again my mother’s strength and words helped me to make it through without losing it. Kassie deserved me to give my best right now. The kids deserved me to be strong. I was not going to let them down. I kept repeating her words over and over again in my head to get through watching her siblings with her for the last time. They were telling her good bye that to this day was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

The next morning the doctors prepared to remove Kassie from life-support. My mother was by my side. I knew how hard this must be for her. Watching me go through this, watching a baby in ICU with the tubes again pass away. It had to be killing her, but she stood tall, held my hand whispering in my ear during the last rights, knowing in a few moments it would just be Kassie’s Daddy, Kassie’s Mom, and me(Kassie’s Ahma) in the room as the doctors removed her from life support.

She kissed my cheek and left with the others. We remained in fear, pain and agony. My husband could not watch her die; he kissed her and ran out in pain. I could not leave until I knew she was no longer with us. After she left us, I knew I had to find her daddy. I could do nothing more for our Kassie girl but she would want me to take care of him. I comforted him still unable to let myself go completely because he needed me to stay strong.

My mother found me and took me away from everyone else because she knew I would not let myself fall apart again. I simply could not. I feared if I let myself go in front of everyone I might never be able to get myself back. She knew what I needed yet again.

Once safely with her I fell apart completely, I wanted to die, to scream. To beat the hell out of the person who did this. How in the world could we go on with out our Kassie girl, our youngest family member, this was not fair. I was so angry!!!

The pain and loss was overwhelming I could barely breathe. But somehow her arms felt safe and I knew in that moment she and I shared a pain she prayed I would never feel. She was heartbroken for me and she was so strong through it all. She prepared me for the next step we had to go home and tell her siblings she was in heaven. It took my breath away, I wanted to crawl in a hole but my mother looked on with that smile and said, “She is with Willie and Grandma now they will take care of her”. She was so calm; it was that calm I feed off of. It was her strength I borrowed when I did not have my own. Her strength helped me to do what needed to be done.

Through the next few months I spent most of my time focusing on the children, my husband and their needs but there was always my mom behind me focusing on me. Her strength is the only thing that got me back on track. Knowing she survived such a huge loss and was here to understand, talk to and hold me when I needed it.

Thanks to my mom we all have made it to a stronger place. We miss our Kassie girl daily and always will. My children have grown, their lives have progressed. That we are not stuck is because my mom stepped in when I needed it the most to shake me out of my pain over and over again. As the years have gone by the strength she gave me in the beginning is something I draw on often. I often find myself repeating what she told me on a bad day.

She is my hero for the gift she given me. Only now truly know how much it had to cost her to give me that peace and direction. Losing a child never leaves you. You simply learn how to live with the pain it leaves behind. That learning to live was the greatest gift she could have ever given me. It allowed me to provide my family with the hope, strength and direction we all so desperately needed after such a huge trauma in ours lives.

I thank God everyday she had the strength to be there with us through that. I don’t know if we would be where we are today without her guidance and support.

All I can say is thank you mom. I love you.
Tonya (Kassie's stepmother, her "Ahma")

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Important Announcement ~ Please take action today!

Dear Families and Supporters;

We are coming to you today with hope for what the future holds for us all.

Our goal for this up coming 2011 vigil was set at $15000. Through all of us working together and working extremely hard, we are only 1/4 of the way to our goal.. I spoke with Disney event planning today, and while they are welcoming us with open arms, the amount we have to have to even think about having the vigil at Disney, providing rooms, meals, plane tickets and park tickets will start at $5000. To even reserve just the meeting place and 10 hotel rooms we have to have $3200.

After much heartbreak as to what we had hoped for for our 5th year, we have to turn down the opportunity as truly we want the funds to fund the families and provide sponsorships for the families. The vigil will be in Florida but not sure where as of yet, however if you can help us meet our goal, please contact us today. It is because of you, the families, and all of our supporters that make this annual vigil even possible. IT is together each year that the funds are raised by purchasing merchandise and our now twice yearly t-shirts that provide the funds for this event.

Just say a little prayer and know we are not giving up, we just don't have enough resources to do so yet to host in the happiest place in the world, but we are not giving up the idea just yet. Keep pushing for this, as those whom have attended all know how life changing and how much emotional support is derived from this event.

Please know the Vigil will be in Florida this year, but the venue is still to be announced. We will announce the location before the New Year as promised.

Thank you for your time and understanding,

Love u all-
Thank You,