Northwest Infant Survival & SIDS Alliance
1961 – 8 bereaved parents formed what would become the SIDS Foundation of Washington, later Northwest Infant Survival & SIDS Alliance (NISSA) as a way to reach out to the families affected by, what was known at the time as “crib death.”
2012 – The SIDS Foundation of Washington becomes NISSA. continuing the mission set forth by our founders to find and support those who have lost infants.
2012 – Liz Montgomery, a bereaved mother, once supported by NISSA, forms Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation to provide support services and prevention education to Idaho and Eastern Washington.
2019 – NISSA and Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation merge to form an updated and stronger NISSA. Serving the entire Northwest region, providing emotional support services to bereaved families and world-class, free prevention education and training to parents, caregivers and medical professionals.
About Our Work
Mary Dore Heart of Gold Award
MEET MARY DORE
Mary Shuman Dore was one of the initial eight families that banded together in 1961 to find others walking their journey of child loss so no one would have to walk alone.
Mary lost her fourth child, Christine, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (“SIDS”) in 1961. As a result of this tragedy, she was instrumental in raising money for SIDSresearch and starting one of the nation’s first foundations dedicated to searching for the causes of what was then called crib death.
“Mary was a disturber of the peace, and she was always right,” said Dr. Abe
Bergman, a noted Seattle pediatrician. “She was more important to SIDS than anyone in the world. Her doggedness helped people realize they did not kill their children. That’s what triggered the whole research movement, not by doctors but by laypeople like Mary. With her compassionate heart, she was the single most important person in the field.” He said through Mary’s work and state money, Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center set up the largest SIDS research project in the world.
Every year NISSA awards the “Mary Dore Heart of Gold Award” to an individual or business that has shown an exceptional commitment to NISSA and its mission, that every child should celebrate their first birthday, and beyond, free from unintentional death and injury.
2022 Mary Dore Heart of Gold Award Winner
Suzanna Spencer, STCU
Bob Spencer and I moved to North Idaho in August of 2007. We married in April of 2007 (so 15 years for both). I have been in the financial industry since 1999 and have always had a passion for volunteering. I spent over 20 years as an advocate and fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and have been active in Financial Education for children for over 20 years. I have served on the Post Falls and Rathdrum Chamber boards. My interests including anything having to do with sunshine and water including traveling, swimming and boating. In the winter I enjoying snow shoeing (right out my front door) and skiing at Schweitzer. I am mom to two fluffy kitties that are our evening entertainment, especially during long North Idaho winters. I have worked for STCU as a branch manager for the last 9 years and currently serve at the community branch manager for the Rathdrum branch.
iNVOLVEMENT WITH nissa
Suzanna has been involved with NISSA for the last eight years. Over that time Suzanna has volunteered for countless events, contributed financially to our mission, both personally and through her workplace giving programs and has served the last three years as an integral member of NISSA’s finance committee. Anyone that’s been to NISSA’s amazing gala, Night Under the Stars, also knows Suzanna that event’s resident emcee. Over the last 7 years Suzanna has brought her wonderful sense of humor, gracious nature and irrepressible personality to Night Under the Stars each and every year, ensuring that each event is memorable, fun and engaging for NISSA’s amazing supporters.
Each year when selecting the winner of NISSA’s prestigious “Mary Dore Heart of Gold Award” we consider many things. Personal, professional, financial and other commitments are all considered as we determine the recipient. This year it was as easy choice. Suzanna has been volunteering with NISSA for 8 years committing countless hours to help us advance our mission and do our vitally important work. She has not only supported NISSA with her time, and gave generously financially, she has been serving on a committee for the last 4 years and even got involved in our programming work. This past year Suzanna took three days become certified as a Child Passenger Safety Technician to be able to help in our programming efforts as well. Congratulations Suzanna, you truly do have a “Heart of Gold.”
Suzanna accepts the 2022 Mary Dore Heart of Gold Award from NISSA executive director Liz Montgomery and Jane Dore (Mary Dore’s Daughter)
Mary Dore Heart of Gold Award Winners
Adam & Miranda Hoefert
Allison & Aaron Key & Christine Pezzner
King County Medical Examiner
The Dore Family
Liz Montgomery, Bs.Ed
Director, Safe Start
How do you
preserve a legacy?
With a rich history that stretches back almost 60 years, NISSA’s legacy is vast and deep. We are proud of how we started, how we have grown and what the future has in store. Legacy Hall will be a place where we can document our incredible journey that NISSA has traveled. Over the course of the next year, we will be creating “Legacy Hall,” a place where our history can be preserved online and available for everyone. If you have a document, story, picture or memory that you think belongs in Legacy Hall, we would love to hear from you. Please click below to contact us
Get In Touch
To get in contact with us about any of our programs, support requests or other general questions concerning NISSA fill out the form below. We’ll be in touch shortly.