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Mom Who Lost Son Urges Young People To Monitor Heart Health

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  • Mom Who Lost Son Urges Young People To Monitor Heart Health

    Copyright 2004 The Arizona Republic
    All Rights Reserved
    The Arizona Republic

    December 16, 2004 Thursday Final chaser Edition

    SECTION: VALLEY & STATE; Pg. 3B

    LENGTH: 608 words

    HEADLINE: AN UNEXPECTED DANGER;
    MOM WHO LOST SON, 20, URGES YOUNG PEOPLE TO MONITOR HEART HEALTH

    BYLINE: By Louie Villalobos, The Arizona Republic

    BODY:

    Sharon Bates is using her son's sudden death from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    in 2000 to help other young adults.

    She does that by organizing free public cardiac screenings, six of which have
    been held in Arizona, where anybody can get checked for heart problems.

    Anthony Bates was 20 years old when he died from undiagnosed HCM. A graduate
    of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, he was a member of the Kansas State
    University football team.

    "He had been a member of the team for a year and a half and was going to
    start next year," his mom said.

    Anthony was in the weight room at school on the morning of his death. On his
    way home, he passed out behind the wheel. "Paramedics took him to the hospital,
    but he died," Sharon Bates said. "That's the problem with this. The only warning
    sign Anthony had was sudden death."

    Bates said parents need to know that their children, even non-athletes,
    should be routinely checked and that they should be aggressive in getting
    treatment if their child is diagnosed with HCM, a congenital enlargement of the
    heart.

    "Be the advocate of your child's health care," she said.

    The disease

    HCM is a genetic heart disease that forms in the heart muscle, usually in the
    teen years of life, according to Sharon's Web site, anthonybates.org.

    Although there is no cure, a person diagnosed with HCM can live a normal life
    with proper treatment. Bates said 5,000 to 7,000 kids die of HCM every year. It
    is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

    The screenings

    Bates organized heart screenings in her son's memory as a way to promote
    awareness of the disease and encourage parents to watch their teens for warning
    signs.

    She has had support from cardiac physicians, heart screeners and nurses in
    offering the screenings.

    Reservations for the screenings aren't required. They include echocardiograms
    and EKG tests, if necessary. Participants also must fill out a medical history
    form.

    Five of the more than 170 people screened at an event this fall in Peoria
    were found to have heart abnormalities, Bates said. Abnormalities are usually
    found in six to 10 percent of the people who attend the screenings. She tells
    everyone with a newly detected abnormality to seek medical advice.

    "It's not a disappointment that we didn't find more people," she said. "But
    it's exciting that we found some and can start leading them toward the path of
    educating themselves and taking care of their heart."

    The benefits

    Rick Johnson, athletic director for the Peoria Unified School District, said
    he will encourage coaches to take their athletes to the Peoria presentation Jan.
    22. He said too many young adults feel immortal but may have an undetected
    threat to their life. He also said teachers and staff should take advantage of
    the screenings.

    "This is what makes them aware that they need to seek medical advice and
    maybe prolong their life," he said.

    /

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

    Awareness presentations

    * Jan. 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria.

    * Feb. 5-6, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Phoenix Civic Plaza, 111 N. Third St., Phoenix.

    Public screenings

    * March 5, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Peoria School District Offices, 6330 W. Thunderbird
    Ave., Glendale.

    /

    What to look for

    The American Heart Association recommends that young athletes have heart
    screenings every two years. Here are some warning signs of hypertrophic
    cardiomyopathy.

    * Shortness of breath.

    * Chest pains.

    * Dizziness/blackouts.

    * Heart palpitations (racing heart).

    Source: Sharon Bates, anthonybates.org/anthonybatesfoundation/index.html

    /

    Contact the reporter at (602) 444-6940.

  • #2
    Beautiful work Sharon,

    The first step in helping, as you know, is getting the word out – and this article will hopefully result in more people turning out to get educated and / or tested.

    I believe there is a special place in heaven reserved for people who go out of their way to help others. There must be a spot there with your name on it – right next to Anthony, who must have also derived much from the work you do.

    Do you expect to be in Vegas in the near future? I’m really sorry I missed you the last time, as we would really like to meet and talk with you.
    Burt

    Comment


    • #3
      Sharon, You are amazing and such a strong person. We're so proud of you and all you have accomplished. Linda

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Burt! You always say (type) the best stuff...can't wait to meet you on my next trip to Las Vegas. We are planning a two day heart screening event (Apr. 2 & 3). Right now we are working on getting some financial support, food & complimentary rooms for the 15 Phx volunteers that want to help at this event (hmmm, could it be the Vegas itch has got 'em or are they just wonderful volunteers?). Can't wait to meet you & the Mrs. & talk with you too. The next time I hope to give you more warning that I will be in town so we can plan around your busy schedule.

        Linda! Thanks for your sentiments. Love you too dear!

        Just wanted you all to know that this morning I received an email from a woman in Arizona that saw this article. Her husband died from sudden cardiac death Oct. 2004 from undiagnosed HCM at age 42. It made me sad to hear her story but also that I am the same age. I was able to help her get connected with Lisa & this group on the message board. I hope she introduces herself some day. Until then...it was an honor to be able to direct her here for information, education & awareness, & support for her family. I even invited her to come to one of our upcoming heart screenings in Phx. I am hoping to meet them during a heart screening this year. Helping her find the answers to educate her family is a wonderful thing.

        It makes all my hard work worth the just rewards when I am able to see the results! Sometimes we go along in our daily grind and forget that there are many people seen & unseen that are counting on us. I have to remind myself of that, especially during the holidays. I miss my son.

        Blessing to all for a joy filled New Year!
        Sharon

        Comment

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