By Tracy Swendsen
WURTSBORO November 08, 2005 For every parent, those sweet little murmurs of breathing represent the miracle of life.
Baby Killian Cain Mantos family was no different.
The whisper of his breathing was music to their hearts, music that represented a little boy whose smile and happiness brought the same to everyone around him.
But, one day that music was gone.
Born on October 27, 2003, Killian was a joy to his family and friends evidenced by the 108 people who showed up to walk in his memory Sunday at St. Josephs Roman Catholic Church in Wurtsboro.
On March 3, 2004, Killian grew a perfect set of angel wings, said Mary Purdy, a Manto family friend.
Killian, Purdy said, became a cherished memory to the Manto family and to the entire close-knit Wurtsboro community.
Just a few days after turning 4 months old, Killian died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
From that point on, parents Lynette and Kevin Manto, along with son Kevin, 15, and daughter Katelyn, 11, have journeyed from heartbreak to everlasting healing and remembrance.
For the Mantos, Sunday, November 6, was a day some would term bittersweet.
But for the family and their friends and neighbors, it was a day to promote and strive for SIDS research, with Kilometers for Killian, a 5-K walk beginning at St. Josephs Parish Hall.
I dont want to lose the memories of Killian, Lynette Manto said just a week after what would have been her sons second birthday. I cherish those memories.
We organized todays events to gain exposure . . . so that maybe another mother will not feel the pain of losing a child to SIDS.
Throughout the day, the community showed it feels as strongly about raising SIDS awareness as the Manto family does.
Mary Wingerter, one of the 5-K committee members, her cheeks stained with tears, said, It was like I was meant to be here.
Wingerter went on to say that the spirit of giving in Wurtsboro was mind-boggling.
She said she did not have to look far to see just how giving the small community really is.
T-shirts recognizing the days cause and bottled water, both donated by various local businesses and organizations, were distributed to participants upon their registration.
Following the walk, participants were treated to a buffet-style lunch, also donated by local businesses and organizations.
Manto could only describe the goodwill of the community by saying, Not all people have what we have in this town.
Young Katelyn Mantos eyes twinkled as she spoke of the days events, and remembered her little brother.
Its supposed to be a happy day, she said. Theres no reason to be sad.
She noted that Killian was the best baby brother ever, and she will always remember how happy he made her and the entire family.
Without a moment of hesitation, Katelyn proudly explained that her registration number, 27, was very special because Killian was born on October 27.
Katelyn has reason to be proud too she collected $100.84 in donations for the SIDS Network.
At the end of the day Kilometers for Killian committee volunteers tallied up the days successes 108 registered walkers and $3,500 raised, along with additional donations still coming in through the mail.
Lynette Manto spoke on behalf of her family, thanking a community that had done so much.
People cannot go through this alone, she said, noting that her support system included counseling, bereavement groups and the love of a community she will never be able to thank enough.
Another highlight of the event included an announcement by Purdy of Wurtsboro Curves.
She informed participants that Curves would match the total donation amount from the days event.
The unofficial theme for the day, noted by almost every participant, was Research on SIDS provides hope for the future.
For the Manto family, just as the pain of losing Killian lingers, so does hope hope that with research, no other family will lose a baby to SIDS.
The community-sponsored event in celebration of Killian Cain Mantos life, will continue next year as an annual event.
For more information about SIDS or to make a donation in memory of Killian Cain Manto, call 860-892-7042, ext. 551, write to SIDS Network, P.O. Box 520, Ledyard, CT 06339, or go online to the SIDS Network site, www.sids-network.org.