Kendyn's Kause chili cook-off supports SIDS research

Posted: 11:17 PM, Feb 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-15 05:17:15Z

Kari Blaser cherishes joyful memories with her grandson.

"He was just a happy little guy. He was always smiling."

Kendyn was born in September 2016 to Blaser's son, Travis, and his fiancee, Kneisha Serna, who live in Colorado.

"Everything seemed absolutely normal. There was no indication that anything was wrong."

But during their trip home to Green Bay to celebrate Christmas with family, 3-month-old Kendyn went to sleep and never woke up.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him, and the fact that we can help, hopefully keep this from happening to somebody else, is the most important thing," she said with tears in her eyes.

Shortly after his death, Blaser and her daughter, Taren Conley, created the non-profit organization Kendyn's Kause.

"We were sad, and we were crabby, and we were irritated, and we needed something," said Conley.

For the past two years, they've held a 5K run/walk around Kendyn's birthday and raised nearly $20,000 for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome research.

"It's amazing. People in this community are extremely giving," said Blaser.

After incredible success with the races, they're now adding a new event. They're hosting a chili cook-off on Saturday, February 24th from 2:00 to 6:00pm at the Titletown Brewing Company Tap Room in Green Bay.

"Winter in Wisconsin can be kind of boring. We thought we'd do something to make it a little fun," Blaser said.

Six chefs will compete for a trophy. Local celebrities will serve as judges including NBC26's Cassandra Duvall. There will be silent auctions, drawings and music. Besides collecting more money for research, they'll also educate people on reducing the risks of SIDS through safe sleep practices.

"A couple of decades ago, there was a major breakthrough that's called Back to Sleep . The ABC's of sleep. Alone. Back. Crib," said Conley.

It's life-saving information Kendyn's Kause is hoping to spread even farther as they work to form new partnerships with hospitals and other groups.

"We have no local research. We have nothing really for anybody to reach out if they find themselves in our situation and so we need to fix that," Conley said.

As the family is on a mission to make positive change to protect your babies and to honor their own, soon they will welcome their rainbow baby. Travis and Kneisha are thrilled to be expecting a baby girl next month.