Aaron Matthew

SIDS Research Guild

Help Stop SIDS
By John Kahan
The mission of the Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild at Seattle Children’s Hospital is to ensure that no parent ever experiences the loss of a child again to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Regardless of whether they are affected directly by a SIDS loss, every parent carries the worries that their child could be next because there are no definitive answers to this mystery.

SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant younger than one year old. It's the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old in the United States. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in the US, roughly 6 out of 1000 children die before their first birthdays. Of these, about 4000 infants, or 1 in 6, die each year of unexplained causes. There has been little to no improvement in the rate of death since the mid-90’s.

Ninety percent of SIDS deaths occur within the first six months of life, with the rate peaking between one to four months. Death comes suddenly and unpredictably. In most cases, the baby appears healthy before death. Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep, and infants who die of SIDS show no signs of suffering. SIDS strikes without warning and leaves few clues about its cause. The SIDS classification follows a thorough case investigation that includes an autopsy, a death scene investigation and a review of the clinical history, from which no other cause of death can be determined. The causes of SIDS are unknown.

The Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild was established to fund much-needed research in this field at Seattle Children's Hospital Integrative Brain Research Institute. Researchers from Seattle Children's Hospital, New York University, Langone Medical Center, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Virginia, University of Auckland, and University of Bristol England are working on this terrible mystery. In partnership with these medical professionals, Microsoft data scientists have volunteered thousands of hours, and Microsoft Philanthropies has donated Azure cloud resources, to support this work.

The guild was named in honor of Aaron Matthew Kahan, son of Heather Kahan and John B. Kahan, GM of Customer Data and Analytics at Microsoft. Aaron died of SIDS days after his birth in 2003. The guild was formed in 2017 and includes leaders from Seattle Children’s Hospital Integrative Brain Research Institute, Microsoft, Accenture, Marriott Hotels, and Adobe.

John and Heather Kahan are matching all gifts over $250 made to this cause, up to $50,000. This is also being matched with another $50,000 by the Jack R. MacDonald Research Fund at Seattle Children's Hospital and Microsoft matches $15,000 per employee.


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