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Raising awareness to save babies at risk for shaken baby syndrome

The mother of a boy who survived the syndrome 15 years ago is educating parents and caregivers that shaken baby syndrome is preventable.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — Shaken baby syndrome is one of the leading causes of death of babies in this country under the age of one. 

Shaking infants violently can trigger a 'whiplash' effect that can lead to death or irreversible damage.

On most days, you will find Matthew Goyet walking the track with his Ed techs at Old Orchard Beach High School. The sophomore, who has epilepsy, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and learning disabilities, has overcome many obstacles in his young life. 

It all started when he was six months old. His mother got a phone call at work.

"Matthew was being unresponsive, lethargic and I should come home," Misty Goyet, Matthew's mom said.

A neighbor, who was babysitting told Misty that he fell into the crib with Matthew. The baby underwent a host of scans including an MRI.

"He was bleeding on his brain, a fractured skull, retinal bleeding, a fractured tibia, a broken tibia," Goyet said.

Tests conclusively showed Matthew suffered from shaken baby syndrome, a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.

It's estimated that between 1,000 to 3,000 babies suffer from shaken baby syndrome every year. Experts say one-fourth of those infants die. As many as 80 percent survive but suffer from physical and developmental disabilities.

Matthew's babysitter was arrested and pled no contest to one charge of aggravated assault and ultimately served only 18 months behind bars.

Matthew, in the meantime, pulled through, but the injuries were life changing.

Misty has made it her life mission to raise awareness about shaken baby syndrome and how it is preventable.

Misty, friends, and family are walking every day in October. Miles for Mathew is raising money for the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. The fundraiser on social media has raised more than $1,400. The non-profit works to prevent shaken baby syndrome through education, public policy and research as well as providing support and training for families, caregivers and medical providers.

For more information on shaken baby syndrome from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here