Statewide support begins here

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2008

R-C News-Herald Editorial

We are proud of one of our own.

As the staff of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, we are always pleased to be a part of celebrating the successes of our region. We are happy to print what many people call “good news.”

In recent months we have printed a series of articles about Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and the efforts of one local woman to prevent this tragedy from occurring locally and nationwide.

That one woman is one of our own here at the newspaper, Jennipher Dickens. She is a Staff Writer in our editorial department who covers Bertie County, but she has taken on the challenge of trying to prevent SBS.

She has created Stop Shaken Baby Syndrome Inc. and, through the assistance of the Bertie County Commissioners, has started an education program at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital and will soon begin one with the students of Bertie Middle School and Bertie High School.

Since she has been with this newspaper, we have taken a firm stand to support her efforts as individuals and to cover news events in which she is involved the same way we would had it been someone who did not work here.

Tuesday was an even more special day as Jennipher was called on by child abuse prevention experts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Injury Prevention Research Center and School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center to help announce a $7 million statewide shaken baby prevention project.

The project, which is the most comprehensive and largest in the nation, will focus on preventing SBS in North Carolina.

The statewide statistics are alarming with an anonymous survey revealing 2,000 children shaken by a caregiver each year.

Of those, 40 are admitted to a hospital intensive care unit. Ten usually die and 27 others suffer serious long-term health problems such as mental retardation, blindness or cerebral palsy.

Jennipher knows this too well after someone shook her son when he was just seven weeks old. Tuesday she bravely stood before a room full of reporters representing media outlets all over North Carolina and told his story.

We were proud of her for having the courage to take a stand and join a statewide effort to stop this tragedy. We believe in her efforts and we’re proud she is one of us.