When Dr. Jeffrey Frank’s 16-month-old son Emmett died in his sleep Oct. 15, 2014, he knew almost nothing about his son’s cause of death, Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.
Now, nearly three years later, Frank and his wife Kristy, owners of Spex Expressions in Sycamore, still don’t know why their healthy son suddenly died.
To raise awareness of SUDC and money for ANSWERS4SUDC, a nonprofit organization aimed at raising awareness and conducting research for SUDC, Frank and his wife have helped plan and organize a fundraising concert.
Andy Grammer will headline the ANSWERS4SUDC concert event, with support from Chicago’s Marty Casey and Ali Morgan, on Saturday, Sept. 9, at River Edge Park in Aurora. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m.
Additional activities on the day of the concert include Cartwheels4SUDC Social Media Challenge, a memorial lantern launch, selfie events and a live auction for guitars autographed by Andy Grammer and exclusive vacation packages.
Shawn Tilstra, president of Event Virtuoso and Shell Shock Music, said that as a patient of Frank’s and knowing of his son’s death, he wanted to help with a fundraising event.
“Dr. Frank is my eye doctor, and through the years, he’s become my friend,” Tilstra said. “After hearing his stories, I knew that SUDC needed some light shed on it. This concert is an opportunity to broaden awareness in a way that only music can do. It’s not an emotional day of crying, it’s utilizing the power of music to carry the torch.”
Milton interviewed Dr. Frank and Tilstra over the telephone about the upcoming concert and SUDC.
Milton: What is SUDC?
Frank: SUDC is Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. It is the death of a healthy child older than 12 months without warning or a clear cause. If the child is younger than a year old, it is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. When our son passed away, we didn’t know why. We still don’t have any answers, but we want to raise awareness for SUDC and to talk to and help others.
Milton: Do you think that many people know about SUDC?
Frank: No, I don’t think that it’s well-known at all. That’s one reason to hold a fundraising concert and to spread the word. There have been other events, including 5Ks and bikes across country, but we wanted to do something now that’s local and that brings attention to SUDC.
Milton: Why Andy Grammer?
Frank: I love that he is very family-orientated, and he just had a baby. That really hits home for us. Also, he music is fun and uplifting, he’s become very popular lately.
Milton: What are you looking forward to the most about the concert?
Frank: A fundraiser like this happens once in a lifetime. It is a way to take an unfortunate event in our lives and use it to help others. My son died on my wife’s birthday, and that’s something we’ll never forget. It’s haunting. We hope that holding this event will raise money for ANSWERS4SUDC and awareness of SUDC.