Photo of laura crandall smiling warmly

2015 Portraits of Courage Honoree, Laura Crandall

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Laura Crandall was suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with the death of her healthy toddler after a nap.  She has bravely turned her loss into the greatest gain for this rare disorder, which before she emerged on the scene did not have a name.

Laura is at the forefront of advancing awareness and understanding of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC).  She leads the SUDC Foundation and has created the largest international support program for parents and a registry of clinical and pathological data to help understand its causes.

“Everyone knows about SIDS.  We are a smaller group of parents that fall through the cracks,” she says.

On what would have been her daughter, Maria’s, third birthday, Laura called New Jersey then Governor Christie Todd Whitman and initiated work on a bill that established protocols for deaths in babies and children up to age 3.

Over the years, Laura has participated with the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Justice and National Association of Medical Examiners, testified to Congress, and helped introduce legislation at state and federal levels to support these families and help prevent more deaths of these young children.
On December 18, 2014, Laura joined President Barack Obama in the Oval Office as he signed the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act (H.R. 669).  Because of Laura, SUDC is now recognized by the federal government.

“Courage is not doing what you think is amazing, it is doing things in spite of the fact that they scare you,” says Laura.

NORD is honored to tell Laura’s story as part of the 2015 Portraits of Courage celebration.