The local community is coming together to raise money for a Phenix City baby who died from sudden unexpected infant death syndrome, or SIDS, Tuesday afternoon.
A few friends and social media spurred the movement that's helping the family with funeral costs.
Family friends Katrina Henderson and Clressia Pearce, along with others, have set up donation sites at businesses in Phenix City along Highway 280. Over the next few days people can donate money at Ezell's Catfish restaurant and the Chevron gas station, who will then give it to the family. More than $500 has already been collected.
"Along with the shock and the pain of losing your child, having to come up with that kind of money, you know, is ridiculous. So we decided to do what everybody could," Pearce said.
News 3 first learned about four-month-old Ethan Harrison on Facebook.
Pearce said Ethan was a happy baby. "He'd sit there for hours and just watch everything around you. And you know, you just hear a little giggle from nowhere, just a little chuckle.... he was a sweetheart." Henderson said Ethan, "Loved to smile. That he did."
On Monday though, things turned tragic. Ethan's father put him down for a nap and when he checked on him, Ethan was gasping for air. Immediately, his dad started CPR and took him to the hospital. A day later, he died.
Officials believe it was SIDS, the unexpected death of a child under the age of one. A recent national study found there were 3,100 SIDS cases from 2005-2008.
Doctor April Hartman with Columbus Regional Pediatrics said until a baby is old enough to change their position by themselves, it's important that they sleep on their back. "About 65 percent of them were still sleeping on their stomach or their side instead of their back," Dr. Hartman. She also said secondhand smoke is the third most common risk factor for SIDS so it's important to keep babies away from it. "You want to have a safe sleep surface, meaning that they need to be in a crib that has a firm approved mattress. No pillows," said Dr. Hartman.
Friends hope others can learn from this tragedy. "I hope that somebody will learn from this and read the pamphlets and understand that this can happen to you."
Ethan's mom is grateful for all the support. She told Pearce, "That's what's keeping her sane is to see how many people are truly supporting her, but not really her, as much as it is they support her child."
Ethan's funeral will be held Monday afternoon.
For more information on SIDS visit the American SIDS Institute.
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