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Anthony Bates Foundation: Free Heart Screenings

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Now that the kiddos are back in school, evenings and weekends are going to be full of sports practices and games.  If you’ve got littles playing sports as well, you know all about the sports physicals. My youngest son is a little jock, so we are all too familiar with both sports practice and heart disease.

Our older son Caden has a rare, severe congenital heart defect that has required him to undergo three open heart surgeries (with more to come as he grows).

Did you know that the #2 medical killer of children and young adults in America is heart related? This statistic is scary, and the Anthony Bates Foundation is helping to change it by providing heart screenings to children across the country.

Finding Free Heart Screenings for Your Little Athlete + Why You Need One (Anthony Bates Foundation)

Finding Free Heart Screenings for Your Little Athlete

My friend Hilary lost her cousin Anthony due to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), and her aunt (Anthony’s mother) started the foundation to help prevent the sudden loss of other “healthy” children across America.


From Hilary:

Football season is one of my favorite times of the year and has been since my cousin, Anthony Bates, started playing football for Kansas State University. He had been playing football since he was 9 years old.

Before each football season, he was required to get a sports physical. Had those physicals included a heart screening, his heart condition may have been detected and his death prevented. Anthony was a 20 year old athlete on his way home from working out on the KSU campus when he went into sudden cardiac arrest.  At autopsy he was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), also known as an enlarged heart.


Shockingly, cardiovascular disease is the second leading medical cause of death in children and adolescents. Approximately 60% of heart conditions can be detected with proper heart screenings that include an echo-cardiogram. Since the death of my cousin in July of 2000, my aunt created The Anthony Bates Foundation (ABF) and has been promoting heart health and education around the country.

Did you know?

EVERY DAY over 30 children suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in this country.  Every three days, it happens to be another “perfectly healthy” child athlete that dies from an SCA while playing sports, marching with the band, or even following Physical Education class. Avoiding those heart-breaking deaths is possible with a simple heart screening.

The Anothony Bates Foundation provides FREE (donations requested) heart health screening for students, athletes and young adults ages 10 and up. These screenings include an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram which would normally cost almost $1800 at a doctors office.  Tax deductible donations are very much encouraged and pre-registration is required.

For more information and to pre-register visit The Anthony Bates Foundation‘s website. These screenings are NOT provided only in Kansas. They travel and schedule screenings all over, so please take a moment and pass the word along.


If you are still thinking this isn’t so common…

I (Ashlea) grew up with Andrea. She was one of my besties, we were in band together and did our homework together.  I remember hanging out at her house, her younger brother sneaking into the kitchen for snacks, making fun of us girls for doing silly girl things and being the classic little brother.  He died at just 22 years old, while playing basketball.

From Andrea:

My brother, Jonathan, was 22 years old and a senior at Missouri Southern State University. He was a goalkeeper on the men’s soccer team, enjoying college life and looking to his future after graduation.

On February 8, 2009, Jon was playing intramural basketball with some of his teammates and suddenly collapsed on the court. Classmates that witnessed him collapse rushed to his aide and immediately began CPR and obtained an AED. Despite extensive efforts to revive him, my brother died and I will never forget the phone calls I received.

The first was from my older brother, telling me Jon had collapsed while playing basketball and he was being taken to the hospital. It wasn’t until he mentioned them having to shock him that I began to realize how serious the situation was. Being a nurse, my worst fears began running through my head, but I never imagined he wouldn’t make it and I would never be able to hear his voice or hug him again.

Before I could get a bag packed (thinking I was headed to Joplin to be with him), my dad called me to tell me he had not made it. I remember falling to the floor in my bedroom and sobbing. The next week was a blur to all of my family as we traveled to Joplin, packed up his room at his apartment and planned for a viewing in Joplin for his teammates and a viewing and funeral in Wichita for family and friends.

Because of the circumstances of his death, an autopsy was performed in order to find answers for our family who were completely dumbfounded as to what had caused his sudden death. Results of the autopsy determined that myocarditis was the cause of death. Jon had not been sick leading up to his death and by all accounts was healthy and it has been difficult to not have a definitive answer as to what caused his death.

I cannot help to think that if an EKG had been done as part of his physical prior to playing high school or collegiate sports, that something may have been noticed as abnormal and it could have been treated and he may still be here with us today.

Holidays and special occasions continue to be difficult as he missed my wedding, the birth of his niece, and will miss the arrival of another niece or nephew in January of 2017. Most of all, we miss Jon every day….we miss his voice, his smile, his hugs and his humor. He was an incredible person who was loved by everyone and chose to help another as he left this life by being an organ donor. What helps me get through each day is the memories and the pride I carry being able to say that I am his sister.

Thank you Andrea, Hilary and The Anthony Bates Foundation.  As the mother of a child with a severe and life threatening Congential Heart Defect, I thank you for helping to spread awareness and for sharing your stories.

Much love to you all, and to see about those heart screenings in your area, and to see their schedule or to donate or volunteer (Thank You!!) please visit the Anthony Bates Foundation webpage. ♥

Looking for more HEART?

The Day I Became a Heart Mom {1 in 100}
Caden’s Feet: Walking the Path of Congenital Heart Defect {CHD Parent}
What I’ve Learned Being a Parent of a CHD {Heart} Child
Living With CHD: Learning Barriers for Children with Congenital Heart Defects

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  1. Pingback: Warning Signs of Heart Failure in Children {Heart Defects}