Mt. Pleasant family raises awareness and research funds after toddler dies without explanation

VIDEO:Mt. Pleasant family raises awareness and research funds after toddler dies without explanation

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s been about four years since a Mount Pleasant couple’s 1-year old son, Slade Dozier, died without explanation.

The Dozier family is on a mission to raise awareness about Sudden Unexplained Death in Childlhood (SUDC).

It’s the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 years old, according to the SUDC Foundation.

Every year, at least 400 children are lost to SUDC.

“We have two beautiful children here with us to celebrate and a third one in heaven,” Slade's father, Tom Dozier said.

With the encouragement of friends and family the Dozier family founded the Slade Dozier Foundation to raise awareness and help fund research and prevention.

“He had the best laugh, he would giggle," Slade’s mother, Laura Dozier said. “This one was a little more reserved. They were twins. Slade just lit up a room from the minute he was born. He kind of came out celebrating and that’s just how he lived his life.”

Laura and Tom say their son went to sleep and never woke up without warning and no preceding illness.

“He was a happy healthy boy," Laura said.

The SUDC Foundation says SUDC is a category of death in children between the ages of 1 and 18 that remains unexplained. There is no known cause or know way to predict or prevent it.

“It wasn’t until I spoke with somebody from the SUDC Foundation that I took a breath and realized there wasn’t going to be a cop knocking at my door,” Laura said.

Tom says there's no standard way of classifying or investigating these deaths so it's difficult to track.

The 4th Annual Slade Dozier Memorial Fishing Tournament will take place on Saturday, October 19th at the Hobcaw Yacht Club in Mount Pleasant.

So far they've donated $150,000 to the SUDC Foundation through their efforts.

"Fishing is something I enjoy doing for fun and we when we had Slade and Sander it was kind of in my mind that they were going to be my fishing buddies," Tom said. "A little over a year after he passed away, a couple of my college friends came to us and said we want to do something, we want to start a foundation, we want to try and channel this into something good."

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