Cedar Rapids Fire Dept. Fire Bowl beneficiary hopes to reduce the infant mortality rate

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 3:41 AM CDT
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LA PORTE CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Fire Department annual volleyball tournament, The Fire Bowl, is taking place on August 14.

This year’s benefitting foundation is Knox Blocks.

“To be recognized, and to be a part of fire bowl... to be chosen, you know, as the recipient of this fundraiser that they put on it’s, it’s a huge, huge honor,” said Elisha Palmer, one of the founders of Knox Blocks.

Knox Blocks began in 2017 after Elisha Palmer and her husband lost their 3.5-month-old son Knox to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Knox went down for a nap at daycare and never woke up.

“As I’m turning, the paramedics are turning right in front of me with lights sirens on. And as I pull up behind them, and they’re getting out of the vehicle, that La Porte City Sheriff was carrying him out,” said Elisha Palmer. “He was wrapped in a blanket, you could tell I mean, he was lifeless at that point, I could just see, you know, his legs, sticking it out and kind of dangling,”.

Their mission became to provide parents peace of mind with the Owlet Smart Sock. They began donating these socks to parents around the U.S. The smart socks monitor a baby’s vitals and send alerts if there are any potential issues.

Gracen Palmer, Elisha’s daughter, then came up with the idea to donate the smart socks to daycares in Iowa.

“She immediately said I want to put them in daycares. That’s where Knox died. That’s where they should go. And it was just an aha moment like you’re you’re right, that is 100 percent where they should go,” said Elisha.

Their goal is to provide every daycare center in the state of Iowa with Owlets.

“We have over 600 infants that are being monitored and are wearing these outlets every single day,” Elisha said. “We’re the only state that is doing this. At the infant mortality rate at daycares is it’s high, it’s too high. And our goal with this project is to decrease that overall percentage.”

After they complete their goal in Iowa, Knox Blocks wants to tackle other states.

“Once we heard that story, it was a no-brainer that we wanted to work closely with them to raise as much money to help children within our community,” said Greg Brenneman, with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.

Brenneman says providing daycare centers with Owlets would help first responders create a better course of action when arriving on the scene.

“It’s one of those diseases that’s just going to leave a question mark and families if it were to happen to them. So you know, what Knox Blocks is doing is very crucial for us as first responders,” said Brenneman.

The cost to enter a team in the CRFD Fire Bowl is $300 for a team of 6 participants. This covers the cost of one smart sock.

Owlet has chosen to match the fire department’s donation. For every sock purchased from Fire Bowl funds, Owlet will donate two additional socks.

“It’s a great day and to come out and support Knox blocks, support the foundation and buy one sock for a kid. That can mean a difference to a family,” said Brenneman.

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