Many a mother has crept into her infant's room and listened anxiously to hear if her child is still breathing.
Unfortunately, moms and dads still live with the fear of losing their babies to an unknown but deadly killer now known as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome, formerly called SIDS. According to the CJ Foundation for SIDS, 2,226 infants died in 2009, which is the most recent data available.
The foundation was established by a couple whose daughter died from the syndrome in 1993. SUIDS is the leading cause of death among infants age 1 month to 1 year, according to the foundation, which has raised millions of dollars for research to find a cure.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Zumba Fitness instructors Jen Burgmeier (left) and Joanna Jennings lead a class at the Northern Blair County Recreation Center.
Trying to stop the killer and raise awareness among parents is also the goal of the Blair County Respiratory Disease Society, and one way to do both is to host events like this Saturday's "Que Te Mueve?'' Zumba-thon. The event is a fitness class featuring the popular Zumba dance workout method that participants will pay a $25 donation to take part in, said Rachel Derby, the respiratory disease society's executive director.
"Que Te Mueve,'' which means "What moves you?'' in Spanish, has become a popular theme among Zumba enthusiasts. Derby thought it fit well with the concept of trying to fight a killer like SUIDS.
"What moves you? What could be more inspiring than to try to help save a child's life?,'' she asked.
If you go
What: "Qu Te Mueve?" Zumbathon to benefit Cribs for Kids
When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, registration is at 8 a.m.
Where: Fiore Blue Building, 5523 Trevanian Ave., behind Fiore True Value
Details: For more information or to register, call the Respiratory Disease Society at 944-8222
The fundraiser is one way to educate parents about the many aspects of SUIDS, including a growing concern about a popular trend among some parents to sleep with their newborns, Derby said. Proceeds from the event will go to the society's "Cribs for Kids'' program, which includes parent education about the syndrome and pack-and-play cribs which are portable and can be placed beside parents' beds, she said.
The trend for parents to sleep with infants can have deadly consequences, Derby said. Sleeping parents, even if they're light sleepers, can easily roll over on a baby without realizing it. Babies can be easily suffocated when trapped between a sleeping parent and the bedclothes, she said.
"A lot of parents think if you have the baby in the bed with them, that it's a really great idea, that you don't really put the baby at great risk,'' she said. "Unfortunately, if something does happen it's something you can never take back. It's real.''
Joanna Jennings is one of the Zumba instructors who will lead the participants in the Zumbathon. She'll be joined by Jen Burgmeier of Galactic Ice, Tim Settle of Pro Care and independent instructor Robin Shriver for the workout for charity.
Jennings, who is director of student support at Grier School in Tyrone, has been teaching Zumba classes at the Northern Blair Recreation Center in Tipton since last November when she received her certification. She said she has students in her classes from age 10 to 70, mostly women but a few men, and they all love Zumba, which was developed by Alberto "Beto'' Perez in Colombia, South America. It's a mix of dance and aerobics set to primarily Latin music, but Jennings said she does her own blend of Indian music, Latin rhythms and other international music.
The women burn about 800 calories during the hour-long class, so it is fast-paced but not too difficult for even older people to keep up once they learn the steps, Jennings said.
"The class is so comfortable and so laid back that the older women don't think anything of marching right through the moves,'' she said. "The music is so uplifting that if you go in there feeling sorry for yourself, you find yourself leaving feeling much better. It's almost addictive.''