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On a November afternoon, the carefree sounds of scholars warming up on a highschool area echoed via the air. Their laughter, nonetheless, was changed all too quickly with cries for assist.

Throughout warm-ups, Rafe Maccarone collapsed on the soccer area. Gamers, coaches, and medical professionals rushed to his facet to assist. Regardless of rapid help from these round him, Rafe handed away the subsequent day, only a few days earlier than his sixteenth birthday. Rafe’s family and friends later discovered that Rafe had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Had he had an ECG previous to Nov. 30, 2007, there’s a 95% likelihood he would have survived if correctly handled.

That day was over 15 years in the past. However Rafe’s legacy is extra alive than ever in the present day.

Rafe’s passing birthed a resolve and keenness locally round him. And from this resolve, a bunch of Rafe’s closest mates decided to let this tragedy create transformative motion. Their mission turned a tribute to a life that had ended all too quickly.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy poses a big well being concern as the first contributor to Sudden Cardiac Demise amongst people below 30 years previous. It’s a disaster in youth sports activities and faculties. General, 1 in 300 youth in the present day are in danger resulting from detectable coronary heart anomalies that almost all routine wellness checks don’t expose. If detected, usually these coronary heart abnormalities are solely curable with procedures which have change into routine for medical medical doctors and cardiologists. If not detected, tragedy strikes with out warning.

Not too long ago, a Tampa highschool scholar collapsed throughout observe apply. Happily, faculty and emergency personnel used an automatic exterior defibrillator (AED) to ship dwell saving shocks, however this incident underscores the necessity for widespread coronary heart screenings. This scholar and others characterize the faces of Florida — younger folks misplaced or perpetually altered by SCA.

Xaiver Cooley, a 13-year-old from Osceola County who died instantly over the vacations final 12 months. Marissa Joleen DeVito, a 19-year-old who died of sudden cardiac arrest. And 14-year-old Knox MacEwen, who died whereas taking part in a JROTC 5k. These tales and a whole bunch extra communicate volumes of the work left to be carried out in Florida.

But, amidst these tragedies, there are tales that talk of hope.

The story of Seabreeze Excessive College junior Brogan Kelly whose coronary heart situation was detected by a Who We Play For screening that’s credited as having saved his life. The story of Giovanni Garcia, who was in a position to bear the guts surgical procedure he wanted after a screening detected a uncommon situation involving an additional electrical pathway inflicting a speedy heartbeat. The story of Logan Johannesen, a 14-year-old who was in a position to get the care he wanted after taking part in a coronary heart screening occasion earlier this 12 months.

Many people might have been led to imagine that youngsters dying from coronary heart issues are uncommon. However the fact is that Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the one best killer of faculty age kids. This can be a silent epidemic placing households throughout Florida and it calls for our consideration.

Born out of tragedy and in honor of Rafe, Who We Play For was begun to offer preventative coronary heart screenings for Florida’s youth. These efforts have resulted in over 250,000 screenings accomplished so far. By offering routine coronary heart screenings for Florida college students, Who We Play For is transcending athleticism, socio-economic standing, and geographical location. This proactive method is making certain a safer and more healthy future for younger Floridians.

Rafe’s story and his legacy is a catalyst for change, encouraging educators, households, and leaders throughout Florida to change into concerned, making certain the protection and well-being of Florida’s youngest and most lively residents.

Collectively, we are able to defend our kids and honor the reminiscence of these now we have misplaced by ensuring each younger Floridian has entry to a coronary heart screening. For 1 in each 300 younger Floridians, a routine coronary heart screening means the distinction between residing a full and full life as a substitute of 1 lower quick by a detectable and curable coronary heart abnormality.

To study extra about Who We Play For or to request a faculty or community-based screening, go to whoweplayfor.org.

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