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Dear Reader: An Unexpected Meeting

Alayne Sulkin

Published on: October 30, 2018

John Kahan and Alayne Sulkin
John Kahan and Alayne Sulkin. Photo credit: Will Austin

I am feeling like quite the fortunate Scorpio birthday woman these days.

By the time you read this note, I will have received one of life’s greatest gifts: my first grandchild.

I’ve spent the past nine months dreamy-eyed watching my daughter grow in myriad ways as her beautiful belly expands. More than once, I’ve been thrust back into reflecting on the miracle of birthing three healthy babies, a joyous period intermittently shattered by too many miscarriages. The arc of our life reinforces how devastatingly fragile and enchanted life can be at every moment. 

Enter the magic of this month’s Someone You Should Know: John Kahan.

Serendipitously, John, a new friend, met my ready-to-birth first daughter at my front door. Heart racing, I momentarily froze, unable to utter a proper introduction. 

Here’s why: Fifteen years ago, John’s beautiful baby boy Aaron Matthew died from SIDS days after birth. I struggled to know how to broach such a painful subject for both him and my expectant daughter.

Instead, I focused on the amazing way John has channeled that personal tragedy into positive change for others.

“Meet John,” I told my daughter. “He’s got an amazing position at Microsoft where he works on AI for humanitarian action to support disaster recovery, address the needs of children, protect displaced people and promote human rights.”

As if that’s not enough, John has also launched the awe-inspiring First Steps for SIDS online video campaign in honor of his son, I added.

While we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, let’s also make positive change. Through First Steps for SIDS, let’s raise public awareness (share #firststepsforSIDS) and funds (donate) to support research into the causes of and, ultimately, preventative measures for SIDS.

Every parent should experience the joy of their child’s first step.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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