Fifteen years in the South Australian Police Force have exposed Detective Brevet Sergeant Mark Sheehy to at least a dozen sudden infant deaths, leaving him determined to try and make a difference, reports The Southern Cross.
“The sudden death of a young child is quite traumatic,” says Detective Sheehy, a parishioner of the Cathedral Parish and father of four. “Attending the deaths of infant children is part of my duties as a detective and it really makes you appreciate life and your own children,” he says.
“It makes you want to contribute towards helping people affected by SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) move through their loss.”
Detective Sheehy is president of SIDS and Kids South Australia and director of the national body. He joined the group six years ago after working closely with SIDS and Kids SA during a number of investigations involving infant deaths.
Last month Detective Sheehy and fellow police officer Senior Constable Dan Lacey embarked on a 1200-km round-trip motorcycle ride from Adelaide to Port Lincoln hoping to raise $10,000 for education and bereavement support programs for those affects by SIDS.
Sen-Constable Lacey was told five years ago of the sudden infant death of a sister he never knew he had. She had died at 10 days old before he was born. “Mum never really talked about it but told me about my baby sister who was laid to rest in Tennant Creek,” he says.
“It must have been so hard for Mum to deal with and would have been such a terrible tragedy for Mum.”
For five days from September 17, the pair travelled through Melrose, Port Augusta and Whyalla to Port Lincoln raising awareness of SIDS and collecting donations through events supported by emergency services, local schools and Port Lincoln mum Tarlia Bartsch who is fighting to change laws to recognise stillborn births under 20 weeks.
In Adelaide, more than $700 was raised by St Joseph’s Memorial School, in Norwood, through a Father’s Day Breakfast in August.
FULL STORY Making his mark (The Southern Cross)