Vienna Carly Savino was only 2 years old when she died — and no one knows why.
She took a nap in front of the television Nov. 12, 2017, at home and never woke up. Her death was reported as Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood after an autopsy, extensive research, genetic studies and thorough investigating.
There simply was no answer.
“My husband and I are both physicians and, shockingly, never heard of SUDC until after our daughter Vienna died,” Dr. Denise Wunderler, of Holmdel, N.J., said.
Wunderler is a 1990 graduate of Northampton High School.
SUDC is a category of death in kids 1-18 years old whose death is still unexplained after a thorough investigation. According to the SUDC Foundation, it is the fifth-leading category of death in children 1-4 years old.
To help raise awareness and keep other families from suffering in the same way, Vienna’s family started a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Team Vienna 4 SUDC Awareness Inc.
According to Wunderler, Team Vienna was incorporated on what should have been Vienna’s fourth birthday and is intended to raise awareness for SUDC worldwide and to support SUDC research.
In honor of her daughter, Wunderler wrote a song.
“For two months after her death, words to my daughter swirled in my head like a hurricane until I wrote them down,” Wunderler said.
She noted her mind quieted after she got her words out.
According to Wunderler, Vienna’s favorite musician was Ray Andersen, known as Mr. Ray. Wunderler reached out to Andersen and sent him the words she wrote to her daughter.
Andersen took Wunderler’s words and set them to music to create a touching memorial titled “I Think About You (Song for Vienna).”
Wunderler took up guitar lessons, so she could learn to play the song herself.
“I was inspired to take guitar lessons to learn this song that has helped me and my family and so many other families who are trying to survive each day after losing a healthy child,” she said.
Wunderler spoke at the OMED Physicians Conference Oct. 27 in Baltimore, Md. She opened her presentation by performing the first verse of the song. That was the first time she performed the song publicly.
“I will keep working on the song, and in the future, hopefully, I can perform my entire version to my little girl in heaven,” she said.
The two-year anniversary of the loss of Vienna was Nov. 12. Wunderler requested her special song be played on as many radio stations as possible. Andersen posted the song to YouTube, and Wunderler asked everyone to watch and share the song.
The video can be found at youtube.com/watch?v=lLXQzoVV0X8&t=12s.
As of press time Nov. 13, the video had 2,815 views.
There is a Team Vienna SUDC Awareness event planned during Muhlenberg College’s basketball game Jan. 25, 2020. Muhlenberg is Wunderler’s alma mater.
There will be a Team Vienna event May 16, 2020, called Vienna’s Day of International SUDC Awareness. This event is open to everyone, everywhere. Participants are encouraged to do any activity while wearing Team Vienna gear or holding a sign. Post a photo of yourself and/or your group participating on Facebook using the #teamvienna4sudcawareness tag and tagging Denise Wunderler. Participants can also email photos to TeamVienna2018@yahoo.com.
On the same day, Team Vienna is taking part in the Mary’s Place by the Sea 5K walk/run in Ocean Grove, N.J. Mary’s Place by the Sea is a healing retreat for women with cancer.
Coming up in summer 2020 will be Vienna’s SUDC Summer Splash at Cambridge Club of Aberdeen, N.J.
Team Vienna also partnered with Lauren Farrell, a handbag designer, to create the Vienna collection. For every Vienna handbag sold, proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit. Visit laurenfarrellny.com.
For more information on SUDC or Team Vienna, visit teamviennasudc.org.