A grieving Doncaster mum has helped raise more than £5,000 for charity – while coming to terms with the cot death of her first baby.
Sarah Banks-Wilson ran a half-marathon with team-mates and donated the proceeds to the Lullaby Trust, which provides specialist support for bereaved families and anyone affected by a sudden infant death.
Sarah and her fiancé, Simon Wilson, a fitness trainer, both aged 36, yesterday attended the inquest into their son Shay Banks-Wilson, who died a fortnight after his first birthday.
However, a paediatric pathologist could not explain why Shay died.
The inquest heard Sarah had been out for a training run on January 24 this year, while Simon and two friends were playing computer games.
When she returned to the family home in Rands Lane, Armthorpe, she went upstairs to check on the tot, after Simon said he had been unsettled.
Sarah, who is now expecting their second child, said: “When I went in, I saw that he was in an unusual position, face down, with his arms either side of his head. I had never seen him in that position.
“I touched him and knew immediately something was wrong.”
An ambulance was called and Lee Hartle, one of Simon’s colleagues from LA Fitness, attempted resuscitation until a paramedic arrived to take over.
There was no sign of a heartbeat and, despite further resuscitation attempts, Shay was declared dead at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Simon said he had picked his son up about half an hour earlier when he was crying because of teething.
He said: “I stroked his back and was talking to him, he seemed to drop back off to sleep so I put him straight down. He was just laid on his back.”
A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Luis Cesar Perez, of Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who found no sign of infection despite extensive tests and said Shay’s heart was normal. Dr Perez said the only explanation he could give was sudden unexpected death in childhood, commonly known as cot death.
Shay’s parents asked if the immunisation jabs he had received about a fortnight before might have had anything to do with his death, but the pathologist said there was no scientific link.
Sarah said: “We have been thinking about his vaccinations constantly, we have read of lots of parents whose children passed away after vaccination. Is it coincidental or linked?”
Dr Perez reiterated there was no evidence of a link but said ‘nobody knows’ what causes such deaths.
A police inquiry found no suspicious circumstances.
Nicola Mundy, Doncaster coroner, said Shay was a ‘well-cared-for and very much-loved baby’.
Recording a verdict of death from natural causes, she told the parents: “I can’t begin to imagine what you’ve been through and I offer you all my condolences.”