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Triad family is racing for SIDS awareness

Nearly four months after the Smiths daughter, Kimery, was born, things took an unexpected turn.

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — If you go to a race at the Caraway Speedway, many people will recognize one team in Particular. It is Team Kimery

The team is known for winning a lot of their races, but that's not the only thing they are known for, but rather the story that's driving their passion.

It all started in 2019 as the Smiths learned they were adding another child to their family. 

Now, increasing the size of a family can be similar to racing.

The excitement ignites and it's full speed ahead, as cassie and Justin Smith learned they were having a baby girl named Kimery. 

"I found out I was pregnant with Kimery, and then we found out it was another girl," said Cassie Smith, Kimery's mother. "She was really smart, already holding her head up some."

"She was smiling all the time, she was always the happiest baby," said Justin Smith, Kimery's father. 

Nearly four months after she was born, things took an unexpected turn. The Smiths woke up around five in the morning to learn Kimrey wasn't breathing.

"I had looked over to check on Kimery because she hadn't woken up for a feeding and she wasn't breathing," said Cassie. "Justin was performing CPR and when the police got there they told us it was likely SIDS."

Cassie said that they were told Kimrey died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS. 

It's often referred to as a medical mystery in which a baby goes to sleep and never wakes up.

Doctors said there are no symptoms or real explanation behind why it happens, but that sometimes babies between one to 12 months can stop breathing in their sleep.

"It's an unexplained death, it's considered a diagnosis of exclusion meaning that you've excluded infections suffocation or any other illnesses that have been ruled out," said Doctor Ankita Patel, with Novant Health Meadowlark Pediatrics.

Dr. Patel said there are ways parents can prevent it from happening. 

"Never place a baby on a soft surface, such as a blanket, or pillow, or sofa, also keeping the baby in your room for the 6 months of life has been shown to protect against SIDS," said Patel. 

Patel said other suggestions are ensuring babies sleep on their backs, sleeping on a firm mattress without blankets or bumpers, avoiding overheating, having the baby sleep in their parent's room in a bassinet or crib for about 6 months, and avoiding tobacco use around baby

Patel said since the 1990s, the 'Back to Sleep' campaign has lowered the rate of SIDS drastically, but it's still important to raise awareness because these deaths still happen even with precautions in place. 

While it's still difficult for the Smiths to understand, Kimery's death is now revving their passion towards awareness. 

"We wanted her name to live on, she's our little girl she always will be," said Justin. 

The family decided, after Kimery passed away, they needed to spend more time with family, but also let Kimery's name live on. 

There are about 6 race cars apart of Team Kimery's mission to raise awareness. 

On Justin's car, you'll see the number 9 in honor of the day Kimery was born and the color purple. 

"Purple means a lot to me, Kimery was the cutest little baby in anything, but purple it just made her skin glow and that's the color we buried Kimery in, so purple's the color," said Cassie.

This year, they are adding the names of other babies who died from SIDS to start a conversation and like racing, they said in the end, it's all about how you move forward. 

"Maybe they can find a cure for this, so parents don't have to go through what we have," said Justin. 

If you or someone you know lost their child from SIDS, the Smiths ask that you reach out to them, so they can add more names to the car. 

You can find their Facebook page here

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