After losing a 15-month-old grandson to a mysterious medical condition, a Texas family will undertake a 3,500-mile bike ride to help prevent the same thing from happening to other children.
In 2014, Moss Pieratt went down for his morning nap and never woke up. He was rushed to Dell Children’s Hospital and died the next day.
“We still, to this day, have no answers as to what caused Moss’ death,” said his grandfather, Bobby Jenkins.
Moss’ cause of death was classified as Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Syndrome, or SUDC. Similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which occurs in children age 1 or younger, SUDC is the name given to the phenomenon when in happens to children from ages 1 to 17. The cause of SUDC is unknown.
“It’s very hard to lose a little one, regardless of what happened,” Jenkins said. “But it’s even more difficult when you don’t know what happened. We’d like to know what causes this unexplained phenomenon to occur, and how we can prevent it and save other children somewhere in the future.”
As the family has connected with other parents affected by SUDC, they increasingly hear heartbreaking tales that are similar to Moss’ story.
“We know this occurs much more often than we [think],” Jenkins said. “We want to raise awareness that this phenomenon exists. We want to ultimately find out why this happens, and from that, we want to find things we can do to prevent it from ever happening again.”
Research for SUDC receives no government funding, Jenkins said. That is why he, along with his two brothers, will bike coast-to-coast to raise funds for the Moss Pieratt Foundation, a charity the family began to raise funds and awareness to find a cause or cure for SUDC.
Each brother owns and operates a branch of ABC Home & Commercial Services. Jenkins owns the Austin branch, and his brothers, Raleigh and Dennis, own the Houston and Dallas branches, respectively. Raleigh Jenkins is fundraising for riding for A Child’s Hope, an orphanage they started in Haiti, and Dennis Jenkins will raise money for both causes.
“[Moss] had an amazing ability to connect with people. People were drawn to him, and he was drawn to people,” Jenkins said. “We want to honor that positive vibe and honor him, and find out what the heck happened.”
His daughter and mother will follow along in a support vehicle and document the trip. Jenkins said their goal is to raise $250,000, which will go toward raising awareness and funding studies on SUDC, including a research fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
“That kind of money would make a real impact,” he said. “The bike ride seemed like a successful way to get people’s attention and tell a story.”
The ride will begin May 23 in Anacortes, Washington. The family hopes to arrive in New York City around July 19. Donations can be made at www.brothersbike.org.