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Midlothian family hosts virtual fundraiser in memory of beloved toddler

The one-day event will raise awareness as well as donations for the SUDC Foundation.
Updated: Aug. 27, 2020 at 4:44 PM EDT
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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WWBT) - Monday, Aug. 31, marks a bittersweet day for a Midlothian family. It’s the day Kristen and David Hensel would have celebrated their daughter’s 2nd birthday.

However, Maeve Hensel died unexpectedly in April. The medical examiner placed her death in the category of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood or SUDC.

So, on Aug. 31, Maeve’s family and friends will celebrate her life in a unique way. They’ve created a virtual event called Maeve’s Miles.

Participants are asked to run, walk or jog for two miles. Then, upload a picture to social media using the hashtag #maevesmiles.

The Hensels hope this event will raise awareness as well as donations for the SUDC Foundation. It’s their way of honoring their child while helping to save others.

On April 21, Kristen says Maeve ran a slight fever.

“Because she had had febrile seizures in the past, every time she had a fever, we were to do medication every four hours,” said Hensel.

She and her husband, David, took Maeve to her pediatrician’s office, and all went well. Maeve’s temperature had returned to normal, and doctors had assured the family she would grow out of the seizures.

Maeve seemed to be fine when Kristen put her to bed that evening.

“And then it was 1 a.m. when I went in to get her to give her her next dose of medication, and she was unresponsive. Of course, we tried CPR, called 911 right away,” said Hensel.

Maeve had died.

Kristen and David had no words, and at the time, no answers as to why this happened.

Three months later, the Hensels received her autopsy. It placed her death in the category of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood or SUDC, which means the medical examiner could find no cause of death.

According to the SUDC Foundation, this category of death is rare. In the United States, nearly 400 children are lost to SUDC each year. The majority of them are between the ages of 1 and 4.

“This category of death still doesn’t give us any answers,” said Hensel. “We, like many people, had never heard of it before. You know you hear of SIDS all the time, but a lot of people have never heard of this.”

The Hensels are now working to change that lack of awareness.

Through their upcoming virtual event, they want to raise awareness and donations for research to one day help explain what’s now unexplainable.

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