South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Eleven-year-old ‘taking a stand' against SIDS


 Eleven-year-old Jessica Olkosky has been waiting for months for one very special day to arrive.  It is the day she has chosen to take a stand against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  A Sunkist lemonade stand that is!

 On Saturday, July 26, Jessica and her friends Haley Doherty, Tori Collicchie and Kristen Plavetzky will set up a lemonade stand that they received in the mail through the Sunkist “Take a Stand” campaign.  In its fifth year, the award-winning “Take a Stand” program encourages kids to give back to their community by raising money for a charity of their choice through a good old-fashioned and freshly-squeezed lemonade sale.

To receive a complimentary stand, children must be ages 7-12 and simply pledge their commitment to a charity online at:  Jessica chose to raise funds for SIDS of Pennsylvania and the Cribs for Kids® campaign because she lost a cousin, Austin Matthew Jenkins, to SIDS nearly three years ago.  Jenkins would have celebrated his third birthday in August.

Cribs for Kids®, initiated in Pittsburgh by District Attorney Stephen Zappala, helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and accidental suffocation.  The program provides cribs to families in need, who would otherwise not have a safe place for their baby to sleep.  SIDS of PA's continued support of programs such as ‘Back to Sleep' and Cribs for Kids® is responsible for cutting SIDS rates in Allegheny County by close to 50 percent since 1994. To date they have given out more than 30,000 cribs.

Jessica will kick off her fundraising efforts the week before her lemonade stand opens by walking in memory of Austin on Sunday, July 20 at the Ninth Annual Kayla's Run for SIDS at Baldwin High School.  The 5K run/two mile walk begins at 9 a.m. and proceeds through the Baldwin neighborhood around the high school.

The event takes place each year in memory of Kayla Marie Mangan, who died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep on December 2, 1998.  Pre-registration is $18.  Deadline to enter is Wednesday, July 16. All participants receive food, beverages, a race T-shirt, and entrance into random drawings for prizes.  A special trophy will be given to the overall male and female winners and trophies will be given to the top three males and females in each age group.

To register for Kayla' Run, or for more information, contact SIDS of PA at (412)322-5680 ext. 5 or visit their websites: and


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