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God Bless Reggie

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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • God Bless Reggie

    Dear friends, sorry to say I have bad news. This one hit too close to home for me. In my local newspaper I saw the obituary of a 17 yr old from my town - He had lost his brother in 1996. I recalled the story of his brother. He was at a party with some friends and was walking down the street and died in the street. 7 yrs later a strange set of circumstances has connected the HCMA to this family - but a little too late. You see Kelly, who joined our staff a few weeks ago is the wife of a police officer - the one who responded to the call for help for Reggies older brother - he used an AED but it was too late and the boy had died.
    From time to time I wondered about the cause of death as it sounded like HCM...but I never heard anything... until now.
    Last Saturday a call came over the local EMS network (my dad and brother are both volunteer first aiders) in short it said 17 yr old down, and it did not sound good. It was not until I saw the paper that I made the connection that it may be the same family...there was a simple write up in one paper...it was only this morning that I saw the article below and reached out to the family.
    This family lives 3 miles from me... This boy was in school with my nieces in both Jr high and High school. I wish we were able to help sooner but it was not to be. Tomorrow I will be meeting the family at their home and helping explain HCM and what we can do now to protect the rest of the family.
    Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers ---they have lost too much and will need all the support they can get.

    Sincerely,
    Lisa

    Reginald Ancheta, 17, sunshine in many lives


    Friday, June 27, 2003


    BY MAURA McDERMOTT
    Star-Ledger Staff

    Reginald Ancheta had a smile so big it nearly obscured his eyes when he was happy.

    The 17-year-old Rockaway boy, known as "Gabby" to his family and "Reggie" to his friends, always had kind words for his classmates, from close friends in his rock band, Aidenn, to teenagers or children he barely knew.

    He never let the asthma that often left him breathless interfere with football practice, wrestling or doing tricks on his BMX bike.

    In short, he was an exceptional person.

    But nearly seven years after a rare heart ailment stole the life of his 16-year-old older brother, Genesis Jasper, or G.J., Gabby collapsed at home and died in Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville on Saturday.

    The family fears the same heart ailment may be to blame for Gabby's death.

    "He was a happy kid, full of energy, and when he wanted to do something he had the determination to do it," his mother, Lourdes Ida Ancheta, said.

    Gabby would have graduated Tuesday from Morris Knolls High School. Instead, his friends gathered in droves at his funeral in Jacksonville Chapel in Lincoln Park yesterday, where they shared memories of his cheerfulness, his determination and his striking musical talent.

    Principal Kurt Weinheimer delivered his diploma to the family the same day.

    "He certainly was a good student and really a delightful young man," Weinheimer said later. "He was the kind of kid who always had a smile on his face. It just never seemed like he never had a down day, and that's probably why he was known and liked by almost everyone in his class."

    Gabby's classmates were "tremendously distraught," Weinheimer said.

    A videotaped tribute, made by his close friends, was played in the school auditorium before the graduation rehearsal Tuesday morning. Close to two-thirds of the senior class attended, and crisis counselors met with the grieving students after the video ended, the principal said.

    Gabby was born in Belleville and moved to Rockaway in 1987.

    He was the creative musical force behind Aidenn, a rock band he formed with students from his school and nearby Morris Hills High School.

    G.J.'s heart had an enlarged middle wall, his mother said. He died Sept. 21, 1996, after he sprinted ahead of a few friends on his way back to a party but then suddenly collapsed, she said.

    After G.J. died, Gabby and his sister, Kathleen, 21, were checked for the heart ailment that killed their brother. Both were found to be healthy, and neither ever had chest pains, his mother said.

    Gabby blossomed as a guitarist and songwriter for the band, whose name is derived from the biblical paradise of Eden. At his funeral, his friends recalled how quickly he picked up the guitar and how easily melodies seemed to come to him.

    The band played at school events, among them a fund-raiser for The Spectrum, the school's literary magazine. Aidenn's music focused on such teenage tribulations as struggling to find an identity and coping with betrayal.

    His religious faith was a mainstay of his life, according to his mother. Among the teen's ambitions was to become a kindergarten teacher, as he loved children.

    In addition to his mother and sister, Gabby is survived by his father, Reginaldo, and his grandmother, Lourdes Capistrano.
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

  • #2
    Re: God Bless Reggie

    Lisa, Certainly, our thoughts and prayers go out to Reggie's family and friends. This, following the loss of an older son is beyond comprehension. I know I am not alone in sending my support, prayers, and best wishes to you also, as you, once again, reach out to those in desparate need of comfort and understanding. Your role has expanded so much since we first talked about organizing the HCMA back in 1996. Take care, call me when you need to talk. We're all here for you too. Linda

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: God Bless Reggie

      I just returned home from an afternoon with Reggies family. They are all such nice people and the pain they are all facing now is almost too much to really think about.
      It is 100% clear that Reggies brother, GJ, had HCM, based on the autopsy. Based on the information available so far on Reggie I would say it is 99% sure that it too was HCM.
      I can not say again how important regular screenings are in HCM. Reggie had an all clear in 1996 yet never any mention to be checked again. This is a tragic event that should not have happened. If he was screened we very likley would not have lost this very talented young man.
      His family shared so many wonderful stories about this young man - he was a talented musician with great promise. He also enjoyed sports including football and wrestling.
      I know the family will want people to learn from this event and I also know that they will want their sons to have left a positive mark on this world. It is my hope that this extremely tragic event will help open the eyes of many in the medical field to the importance of this disease. I am not talking about cardiologists...they have the message for the most part. We nee ALL members of the medical field to understand this disease and to STOP these tragic events from replaying in someone elses life.
      Peace to you all...and most of all to Reggies and GJ's family,
      Lisa
      Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
      YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

      Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
      lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
      Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
      Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
      Currently not obstructed
      Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: God Bless Reggie

        Lisa, I'm so sorry to hear of this tragic event. His family surely has had more than they can take. I do hope that they all seek medical evaluations regularly to make sure this doesn't happen to them again.

        Reenie
        Reenie

        ****************
        Husband has HCM.
        3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

        Comment

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