75 Year-Old Former Ski Champ Skis to Save Lives Proceeds to Benefit First Candle/SIDS Alliance

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Turning tragedy into triumph, 75 year-old former Norwegian ski champ and legend Freda Nieters will ski 75,000 vertical feet in honor of her 75th birthday and in memory of her grandson to raise money for First Candle/SIDS Alliance, the nations leading organization dedicated to infant health and survival.

First Candle/SIDS Alliance, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to infant health and survival, has teamed up with Keystone Resort and 75 year old Norwegian ski champion and legend Freda Nieters to launch a unique ski event that will raise critically needed funds to support Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) research, programs and services at both the local and national level.

On March 29, 2006, Freda will ski 75,000 vertical feet for her 75th birthday and in memory of her precious grandson Zachary Thomas Meade, who died of SIDS in January of 2005. Interested individuals are asked to pledge their support by donating as little as one penny per foot for Freda’s success. Pledges can be made online at http://www.firstcandle.org beginning March 1, 2006.

According to Roger McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer of both Keystone and Breckenridge ski resorts, “It is a special privilege for us to host this event. Freda was a valued employee for more than 30 years and we have no doubt she will accomplish the 75,000 vertical feet and make the Guinness Book of World Records. We are proud to be a part of this fundraising effort that will no doubt help save precious lives.” Keystone has made special arrangements for the event, including extending lift hours on March 29th, since it is estimated that covering 75,000 vertical feet will take approximately 10 hours.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Freda and Keystone for this exciting event,” says Dr. Marian Sokol, president of First Candle. “Despite progress in recent years at reducing SIDS rates, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age, claiming the lives of seven babies each and every day in the United States. In addition, more than 26,000 babies are stillborn in the United States each year. There is much work to be done if we are to reach our goal of a future where all babies survive and thrive.”    

First Candle plans to use this inaugural event as a model for similar events at other ski resorts in the future. If you are interested in pledging your support or sponsoring a “Ski for SIDS” event, please call 1.800.221.7437 or visit http://www.firstcandle.org. Proceeds of this event will benefit the SIDS research program at First Candle as well as programs and services at the Colorado SIDS Program in Denver.

First Candle/SIDS Alliance is a national, nonprofit health organization dedicated to promoting infant health and survival during the prenatal period through age two with programs of advocacy, education and research, while at the same time providing compassionate grief support to those experiencing an infant death. For more information on helping babies survive and thrive, to access local support services or to make a donation, please call 1.800.221.7437 or visit http://www.firstcandle.org

The Colorado SIDS Program has licensed and professionally-trained personnel who can help families navigate through the difficult period following a death. Physicians and other health care providers are also available to answer questions and interpret research findings. In addition, the Program provides statewide education addressing issues such as what SIDS is, ways to reduce a baby's risk, and bereavement support to families. Please call 888.285.SIDS or visit http://coloradosids.org/.

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Laura Reno
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