Snowmass woman helps get bill passed

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A Snowmass Village mother has taken solace in the passage of the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act.

All that awaits the bill to become law is President Obama’s signature. It cleared the House of Representatives on Dec. 3.

“It’s been six years in the making,” said Alyssa Genshaft, mother of Max Genshaft, who died in his sleep Jan. 18, 2013. He was 17 months old and the Genshaft family hasn’t gotten an answer for the cause of his death. “And the SUDC has been working hard to get some form of legislation passed,” Genshaft said.

SUDC stands for Sudden Unexplained Death in Children. The organization is a support group for families who have lost children for unexplained reasons.

As Colorado’s representative in promoting the bill, Genshaft worked with Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s office.

Genshaft, who officially goes by the name Alyssa Shenk — who on Monday was appointed by the Snowmass Village Town Council to fill a vacant seat on the board — said the bill’s intent is not only to honor those young ones who died before their time, but also to help take the mystery out of unexplained deaths.

“I think most parents are overwhelmed and proud to honor children in SUDC, in stillbirth, in SIDS, by this legislation,” she said. “It’s hard for people to understand how much this bill means to parents who lost their children.”

The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act’s goal is to establish protocols for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the investigations of sudden infant deaths and stillbirths. Senate Bill 2746 was introduced by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., on July 31. In a statement issued after the bill cleared the House, Laura Crandall, SUDC Foundation president and the mother of a 15-month-old child who died without any known explanation, said: “This legislation marks the first time our federal government even recognizes the existence of sudden unexplained deaths of children after their first birthday. I am proud of our government today.”


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