Today marks the 10th year since the Williams family lost their “sunshine,” Reagan Emery Williams. Reagan was a victim of shaking baby syndrome, and the family has come together to start an organization in her name that exists to spread awareness and intervene in the lives of families and children at risk.
“Early on, about 2007, as we began to speak to community and educational groups, another organization headquartered in Illinois remarked at how quickly we were getting things accomplished and suggested that we get involved on a national and international level through the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, which is located in Farmington, Utah, near Salt Lake City.” Greg Williams, paternal grandfather of Reagan, is happy to be involved on such a large scale.
Greg, along with his wife, Marsha, have traveled all over North America to further their knowledge and to reach out to others who are dedicated to ending this form of child abuse. “We sent in a proposal for a workshop idea to the NCSBS for a 2008 international conference to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, and were accepted. Since then we have presented in Atlanta, Boston, and Denver, and, this September, will be attending the conference in Montreal, hosting the family gathering (for families of victims and/or survivors). Through speaking engagements in the area, around the state, and around North America, we have come into contact with people from around the world, all dedicated to ending this form of child abuse. I have spoken with medical personnel, young mothers and fathers, child advocates, politicians, school boards, students, and even BBC World Service reporters who did a story on our efforts. One of the more satisfying but difficult tasks I am called upon to do is to reach out to other grieving grandparents around the country who are going through what we went through, to help them cope and to answer their questions.”
The charity has partnered with several local organizations including Crosspoint at the Y where there is a playroom dedicated to Reagan. They create educational pamphlets as well as sponsored billboards, posters, radio PSAs, and bus advertisements around Vermilion County to spread awareness. “We have to figure out a way to bring different child advocates together in an effort to share information. Too many children are falling through the bureaucratic cracks; different stakeholders (social workers, police, school personnel, etc.) have pieces of information, but putting them together remains a challenge. ”
Greg is also publishing a book entitled Reagan’s Rescue: A Grandfather’s Journal, A Grandfather’s Journey, which will be available through CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. Those ordering the book will be able to find information on their website in the coming days. The book is a collection of journal entries which started before Reagan’s passing and goes through his amazing story through the years.
How you can get involved:
- Reagan’s Rescue is a 501 (c) (3) public charity, so donations are always accepted.
- When the next poster campaign comes out, they will need people to help distribute materials – volunteers are always needed.
- Mostly, the Williams just ask that you spread their message far and wide to as many friends and family as possible. Shaking Baby Syndrome is 100% preventable.
- Write a letter to Representative Chad Hays to encourage him to push through a bill that will call for stiffer mandatory sentences for those who take the life of a child as a result of abuse. You can do so here.
For more information, please visit Reagan’s Rescue here. Share this article with as many people as possible, and help Reagan’s legacy live on.
Peace & Love,