002: The Unexpected Loss of a Child – Haley’s Run for a Reason with Suzanne Tom

The 12th Annual Haley’s Run for a Reason will take place on July 4, 2016 at the Orinda Community Center

Suzanne Tom joins Rob today to discuss Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). Unfortunately, Suzanne lost her daughter, Haley, when she was only 21 months old. Following Haley’s death 15 years ago, Suzanne still does not know the cause or the reason why her child passed away in her sleep.

The scary thing about SUDC is that it can happen to anyone, so it has become Suzanne’s mission to fund medical research to better understand how this happens, why, and to hopefully prevent it from happening to other families as well. In the last 15 years, Suzanne has raised over $250,000 for the SUDC charity and she explains on the show how her annual 4th of July run has evolved into a huge community event.

Key Takeaways:

[3:00] After 15 years of efforts, Suzanne has raised over $250,000 for the SUDC.

[4:25] Who is Suzanne?

[6:35] What happened to Haley?

[7:25] To this day, Suzanne does not know how her child died.

[7:45] Suzanne’s co-worker and friend, who she spent almost everyday with, also had her young child die around the same time Haley did.

[9:20] It’s so rare for this to happen to kids older than 12 months.

[11:00] Despite having a lot of support around you, when you’re a grieving parent, it can be very lonely.

[11:20] Turning a tragedy into a cause is incredibly supportive for grieving families.

[12:15] SUDC parents are more common than you might think. One of Suzanne’s acquaintances lost an 11 year old child due to SUDC.

[13:30] SUDC doesn’t just happen to children 12 months or younger.

[13:50] You’re not alone.

[15:50] Suzanne discusses the work that she’s currently doing.

[17:45] Suzanne approached her 4th of July committee and organized Haley’s Run For a Reason on Haley’s 5th angel year.

[19:35] The run has evolved into a big community event every year and has turned into a tradition for many families.

[20:45] This year is especially important for Haley because she would have graduated this year.

[23:25] The scary thing about SUDC is that it could happen to anybody.

[24:30] Suzanne realizes she may never know how Haley died, but this is why she supports further medical research on the cause so that future parents won’t have to ask that question.

[30:30] Suzanne thanks her sponsors, especially Golden Gate Print & Media Services.

[33:15] If people can not make it to Haley’s run on July 4th, then they can still support it online.

[37:15] How can you get involved? Go to www.AngelHaley.org for more info!

Mentioned in This Episode:







“Even when you’re a grieving parent, it’s just a very lonely experience that you have to go through.”

“On her five year angel day, I felt like time had gone by and I was saying Haley’s name less and less.”

“That was the biggest heartache, to no longer be able to share those memories.”


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