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!”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Introducing Angela Cook

Hey there! My name is Angela, cousin to the most fabulous little cousin, Michael. I have 3 amazing children with the love of my life, Jason. Together we have attended numerous candlelight vigils. I am also a full time student with the ambition to work in the health care field, the exact profession is not fully determined yet. I am happily awaiting to see what our future holds in the coming years. :)

I was never blessed to have met my cousin Michael in person, he was gone before my uncle (Jerry) married his mother (Tammi). Tammi and Jerry had one of the most beautiful weddings I had gone to. The floral arrangement was spectacular, there was a bouquet of roses and in the center was a sunflower. The roses signified all the loved ones we had lost, he sunflower was the symbolic gesture of remembering that we were missing someone very dear, Michael.

From that time on I would learn about Michael through his older sister, Nicole. Nicole and I would stay up late at the grandparents, and somehow us two would start talking about Michael, I knew she missed him each and every day that passed. The day must have played over and over in her head. Michael and Nicole's sister, Elizabeth was hospitalized with pneumonia, so Tammi had planned on a friend, whom also was a nurse, to watch over her other children while she stayed bedside with Elizabeth. The day Elizabeth was set to be discharged from the hospital is the day everyone's life changed. A nurse had found my Aunt Tammi, and said she was needed downstairs in the ER, puzzled as to why she went downstairs to hear and see the horror of what happened to her 6 month old baby. She would later learn that Michael suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome and was also thought he was slammed up against a wall or floor, his chances of survival was only 1%.

Baby Michael defied all odds and survived. He was left with severe handicaps, however he thrived on the love that surrounded him. At the tender age of 5, Michael's body left this earth. As a family we are positive that he remains around us, we all feel his love on a daily basis.

It is because of Michael that I hopped onto Myspace to raise awareness for all children of child abuse. It was then that I ran into the most horrific thing ever. There were many, many cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome. It was around 2007 that I had the pleasure to talk to Rachel, the mother of angel Madilyne Wentz. Rachel wanted to do something for all the victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Our first small step in raising awareness together was doing a small video montage of the many victims and survivors of SBS. From there the rest is history as our main goal is to provide comfort to the families, by us, the family. Sometimes it's best to be able to talk with someone who has walked in similar shoes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Introducing MamaSue

My name is Sue Sumner, mother to Dustin and Rachel Sumner, grandmother to Madilyne, Brody and Blake.

I was born in Emporia, KS and lived there most of my life. I come from a good sized extended family, but I was the only child growing up. I had a wonderful Mother and Father, who have since passed away.

After High School, I went to Cosmetology School. Throughout the years I have worn many hats, though. I have worked with interior decorators, managed fast food and family style restaurants, been a receptionist both to a moving company and a copier company. I have poured, made and sold ceramics, was a hairdresser and nail artist, owned a motel and a restaurant for about 10 years, and was a dispatcher for communications company. I worked for a non-profit organization as a customer service rep and I now work, again, as a dispatcher for a company which sells and services printer/copiers. In my spare time I paint pictures and walk the bridges here in Little Rock. I have lived in Kansas, Missouri, Florida and most recently, Arkansas.

I was married at 19 and we were together for 34 years. That is when my granddaughter was murdered, due to Shaken Baby Syndrome, and family life was never the same. I lost my beautiful granddaughter to someone’s negligence and rage. Something 100% preventable.

Having gone through all the “stuff” related to Shaken Baby Syndrome has taught me to appreciated my family and be thankful for what God brings into my life, for one never knows what will happen in the next moment. Thanksgiving holds a whole new meaning each year as I recall all that I have and am thankful for.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Introducing MamaKim

Hello! Mama Kim here. I have been married to Denny for almost 26 yrs. We have 3 grown children Steffany, (twins) Denny Jr., and Dani. We have 1 grandson Dominic, and a new grandchild due in mid March!!
I was a cook for 20 yrs and now I am Assistant Office Manager of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Bowling Green, Ohio.
We became more familiar with SBS in March 2007 when our then 3 month old grandson Dominic was violently shaken by his biological father. He had a subdural hematoma, both retinas were hemorrhaged and he had 5 broken ribs in his back. In 2008 I was doing research on SBS because I wanted to understand more, when on MySpace I came across Rachel, her story and the story of little Kaleb. From there the rest is history.

Coming soon...!

Hello to all of our SBS friends and families!!

As many of you know the Network is currently changing a few things around, and revamping some others. One of the things that we thought was important during this process was giving you all the opportunity to know exactly who we are, and how we came to the network. Coming soon you will see a posting containing a biography and a picture of each of our board members. We hope you enjoy this!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here we are...

I can truly not believe it has been the 7 shortest months of my life since I've truly last posted anything on this blog. I've been away for a number of reasons, with the main one being my mental health.

It has been a long long time since I've opened up to all of you about "the real me" and my struggles. My struggles however, have been what has brought me to you and you to me. Each one of you. Through posting, when we go back clear to MySpace where this "group" truly formed, I began just blogging on a daily basis, about what was happening, what was going on, and the struggles. One by one I came into contact with you, and for that I am forever grateful. With that said, I have some extremely personal things to talk to you about. I have been known to say too much, and at times not enough, so I wanted to take a moment, and open up again, like I haven't in over 4 years. The best part about falling, is the getting up.

I would first share with you that I have moved. Not to another state, or even another town, but to what I can officially call home. My fiancé (by the way I am engaged!) and I moved into our first official home together in June 2011. I can tell you when I walk in from work, errands, or even letting the dogs out (yes we have 2) that I've walked into what I can finally call home. That in itself has been extremely emotional because I have not had that feeling since Madilyne. I've felt an overwhelming sense of displacement ever since.

I moved to Arkansas in July 2009, to be hired on by an amazing company, and within my time spent working I would find the man I prayed so long and hard for. In February 2011, he proposed and I indeed obliged. He is everything I prayed for and more. We all have hopes and dreams when it comes to life, and through the darkness that has filled my life in the past 6 years, it was extremely hard for me personally to hold onto hope, for fear it being false. I turned to prayer, because whether answered or not, the unanswered turned out to be the bigger blessings in my life.

The proposal was perfect, just as any girl could ever hope it to be. It was beyond any feeling, emotion, or imagination. It didn't include extravagant flowers, thousands of people, or millions of dollars. It included so much more. His promise to me, his love for me, and his life he wanted to spend the rest of with me. That was beyond any of the previous listed. I was excited. He asked I not announce it (and for those who know me know I CAN'T keep a secret!!!) until we had my mom and his parents over for dinner, and we were both able to talk to our families. It was out of that I knew, this is how it is SUPPOSED to be. Intimate, private, and all about the love we share.

Then all of the sudden it came to me. I am going to be planning a wedding. My wedding. Our wedding. I immediately began garage sailing like an insane woman, getting all the tools and supplies I needed, and began clipping articles, getting the image set just right on paper and in my mind, to make it as close to perfect as possible. It wasn't even 2 years ago I was a girl, prepared to devote my life to the Network, and begin stock piling cat food. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could ever unleash my heart ever again, but deep down I always held true to my prayers, all in due time, he would come. He did.

It was a good way into the planning process that I began going through these moments, and those moments turned into days, and days of course turned into weeks, when I began to stay in bed. I didn't want to talk to anyone, I did not want to go anywhere, I just wanted to lay in bed and pretend that nothing was going on outside of our house in the world. Was I depressed? But if I am depressed, why am I depressed? I started seeing my Therapist at least twice a week to begin, a Psychiatrist once a week, and my primary Dr. once a week. They would try medicines, try other medicines, some making my physically ill, others making me emotionless, and then there were the ones that making me sick beyond holding my head up. That continued for at least 2 months.

Finally, I was at my therapists office talking to him one day, and the wagon I have been in hit a brick wall head on and the tears began to fall down my face. It was then I realized, all of the heartache I felt from my divorce over 8 years ago, had been suppressed this entire time. From the moment my divorce was finalized to the date Madilyne was killed was almost exactly 4 months to the day. The following I watched my parents marriage of 35 years dissolve itself, and I moved too many toes and fingers to count the times, that as I spent so much time working through what happened with Madilyne, and deciphering between all the guilt I carried in my heart for the day when my heart told me to pick her up while working, and not even 30 minutes later I got "the call". I never knew how much my heart was tarnished from all of this combined together.

This is supposed to be the happiest time in my life. This is supposed to be the time when the parties are non stop, I'm working out to look my best, planning like crazy, and spending time with all my lady friends to figure out the details. I have done not one. I have spent the past 4 months holding him close, very close, because I love him.

This blind sided me. I have failed some, but most of all I have grown even more emotionally because of this. I am happy, once I said all of this out loud, I was able to finally acknowledge what was hurting my heart, I was able to deal with the dreams of flashbacks I was having and to decipher whether it was real or fiction, and my dreams have again became dreams and not dreaded nightmares.

These past 4 months have been a growing period for me, I can not begin to put into words without sounding like I am rambling. Which brings me to this blog. This blog began in 2009, but this journey with so many of you began clear back in 2006 on MySpace. I began to open my wounds, write blogs, explain how I dealt with a situation, what enraged me, and what made me content. It was that way that I have been able to connect with all of you, and I am sorry if there has been a block between that. I have said so many times that I wish when some people get to a certain point in their lives, they could just remember what it felt like at the point I was in, or they could just remember what it is like to have a day when you feel the entire world is against you, and that is why I am here. I am here because this my friends, whether you have just found this blog or been on this journey with me since the days of MySpace, this is where we found our common ground and our feelings.

I will never attempt to relate to a mother of a Survivor, and at times it is hard to relate to a mother of a victim. I can guarantee one thing, Madilyne's Legacy that brought so many of us together will always continue, and this Network will be in place, just maybe not as it has been.

There has been great confusion within my heart on how to talk to you all of you about this, because I know how much it means to ALL OF YOU, but also to ME. With the help of all of you, I was able to lead the way for this Support Network, to form a group, for all families to join together regardless of their circumstances to obtain the support they need. The Support Network has done just that. We have grown beyond any number to ever flash in my mind, there is demand after demand for families across the Globe for opportunities that are quickly becoming endless, and it is absolutely amazing how beautiful all of this has become. However, it is time for regrouping, so the Network and the support, and abilities for us continue to grow as much as it can and be healthy.

In order for this to happen I am going to have to tell you something that is so bittersweet for me. Madilyne brought you all to me. If it wasn't for her I would not know not even one of you. In 6 years, she has brought over 25,000+ people into my life, for comfort and for support, and because of that, there is something I need to do for her, and most importantly I need to do for me and my soon to be husband. Our wedding is March 10, 2012, and with that said, I must announce that the vigil this coming year (April 2012) will be broadcast live via UStream. It is such an important event for the healing families have obtained from this event. It is not your 5 star event, with flashy hotels, suits and ties, or your Sunday Best. It is a family reunion. One weekend each year when we gather together as the growing family we are, to spend an awesome time together. This year, we are going to light the sky with our candles, and all of our speakers will be present, and we will have a lot of announcements this year as well. This year, every single one of you will be able to attend the vigil, even if there will not be a gathering, we will all be together, Live.

This has been the headrest decision for me to make. All of the Board Members with the Support Network have worked their butts off and it will continue. We do not stop, ever. We just have to be flexible, due to the responsibilities entailed within planning such a special event. Truly, we have all been affected by SBS and are here together, and each have our times, when we need time to heal. This is mine. It is very important for me to take this time, with my soon to be husband, so I can continue on my journey in life, as a healthy, happy woman, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and now wife. This is not temporary, this is for the rest of my life. I do not ever want any of you to feel let down. We are going to empower, and do what has never been done before. The world's largest Social Media Candlelight Vigil for Shaken Baby Syndrome. I hope you will be there, and I hope you tune in. I will have information the latter part of November for you, with time and links and such because this will help lead us to the biggest Vigil yet, the SBS Vigil of 2013!

From the bottom of my heart, I love you. All of you. One would think it should or shouldn't be a "big deal", to me it is. Because without all of you my family, and my fiancé, I can not continue.

All my love,