At the end of his eulogy for his 2-month-old son, Will, on Aug. 7, 2009, Nathan Hurd urged mourners to take action.

At the end of his eulogy for his 2-month-old son, Will, on Aug. 7, 2009, Nathan Hurd urged mourners to take action.

"I told people, 'When you think of our family, don't think about how sad it is that we lost a child, embrace the commitment to make a difference and do something positive,'" said Hurd, a Grove City resident whose son died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

His words struck a chord with family and friends, who approached Hurd's father-in-law, Bill Brestle, about organizing what became the BabyWill.Org/SIDS Awareness 5-kilometer run. The second annual event will be held July 30 at downtown Columbus' Genoa Park on the riverfront side of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), 333 W. Broad St. Sign-in for the event is at 7:30 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m.

After family and friends organized the inaugural event, Nathan and Michelle Hurd and their children - Sam (6), Nate (4) and Jack (11 months) - are more involved this year.

The event will take place nearly two years to the day that Will died of SIDS.

"Originally that date wasn't our choice," Nathan Hurd said. "Our friends and family decided to do it on that day because they were really looking out for us.

"An event like this is for a very serious cause and we're so emotionally invested in it. At the same time, you can't be sad. The hardest part has been working through our grief while staying positive and optimistic that someday the medical community will solve SIDS."

SIDS, the leading cause of death in otherwise healthy babies between the ages of 1 month and 1 year, is responsible for about 50 deaths per every 100,000 births in the United States. Since 1983, the number of SIDS deaths has fallen by more than 50 percent, but there are about 2,500 deaths per year in the U.S., according to websites dedicated to SIDS prevention.

Last year, the BabyWill.Org/SIDS Awareness run raised more than $17,000 for research. Hurd said the event attracted two types of participants.

"We have a lot of passionate runners who participate. (In Columbus) there's a vibrant running community and it amazes me how big and how passionate that group is," he said. "The other group was families who have been personally impacted or know someone who has been affected by SIDS."

He said the event attracted several families who brought with them people to represent children who had died from SIDS.

"There were more people there that we didn't know than ones that we did," he said. "It was very moving to see people show support for such a great cause. But on the other hand, it reminds you how serious the cause is because we have a personal connection to it."

Michelle Hurd said it was emotional watching more than 400 runners and walkers at the start of last year's event.

"There was a sea of emotions going on," she said. "It was the first anniversary of Will's death and I was due to have a (Caesarean) section two days later. It was hard remembering what had happened a year ago and here I was getting ready to have our fourth child."

The registration fee is $30 for adults and $20 for children 12 to 18 who sign up before Friday, July 15. It is $35 and $25 for those who sign up after July 15. Visit BabyWill.Org for information.