Amanda Saucedo on convoy in Iraq. (Source: Amanda Saucedo)
Amanda and her family lovingly surround the newborn. (Source: Amanda Saucedo)
Ben was born three weeks early in October 2014. (Source: Amanda Saucedo)
After the funeral, Amanda got a teddy bear with some of Ben's ashes in it, which gave her the idea to distribute teddy bears, known as "Benny Bears," to new parents in local hospitals with Ben's story attached. (Source: Amanda Saucedo)
LORAIN, OH (WOIO) -
Every year in the U.S., there are 4,000 sudden infant deaths, but many are preventable. That's why a local mom is taking her family's tragedy and turning it into a cause that could save lives. We went to Lorain for this week's Romona's Kids.
"He made noises, like a car that was trying to start in the winter," said Amanda Saucedo. "He did a little kiss face and it was the cutest. He was really sweet and he's definitely missed."
Last Oct. 20, little Ben was born three weeks early. Amanda and her older son, Trae, were thrilled with their family's new addition.
"He wanted to eat right after he was born within minutes and he never really stopped eating after that," said Amanda.
Amanda served in the Army in Iraq, but nothing could have prepared her for what was about to happen.
"I did what I thought was fine, what a lot of nurses encourage to promote breast feeding," Amanda explained.
Amanda shared her bed with her baby.
"My son woke up in the middle of the night. I put him in bed with me and I laid on my side and I latched him on, and I fell asleep. And when I woke up, he was gone," recalled Amanda. "I was told that he had suffocated accidentally."
After the funeral, Amanda got a teddy bear with some of Ben's ashes in it. This gave her the idea to start a nonprofit to distribute teddy bears, known as "Benny Bears," to new parents in local hospitals with Ben's story attached.
"It's just to encourage people to practice safe sleep with their babies. We're hoping that by handing out these bears that we can drastically reduce the rate of infant deaths, not just locally, but we're hoping to expand as far as we possibly can."
Amanda is drawing strength and courage from mementos and messages from family, friends, and even strangers who see her story online.
"There's a lot of people who have commented on things, that have said 'I have a 2-month-old baby and I slept with him every night, but after I read your post I stopped. Thank you for that,'" said Ashton Goad, Amanda's sister.
"I've had a lot of people contact me all over the country saying that their nurses actually encouraged them to bed share with their babies, and a lot of people think it can be done safely. And I thought I was doing it safely," Amanda shared.
Amanda said she thought she was doing what was best.
"I want to make sure no other mother or family has to go through this again," said Amanda. "I know that this is what Ben wants. He was meant, unfortunately, to pass away the day he did to save other lives. And I don't ever want anyone to go through this. It's preventable."
Amanda is holding a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser and Silent Auction March 15 at the Amherst VFW from 3-7 p.m. Tickets are $20 each, and all proceeds go toward applying for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation, along with the purchase of Benny Bears to distribute to area parents. Tickets may be purchased online or in person by messaging via the Benny Bears Facebook page.