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Keith VonRapacki - LPD Run.

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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Keith VonRapacki - LPD Run.

    Approximately 270 runners and walkers braved the heat and headed to the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst this Sunday, June 12, to participate in the Second Annual 5KRun/2KFun Walk to benefit the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a treatable heart condition that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

    Sunday’s event was sponsored by the Lyndhurst Police Department in memory of Officer Keith VonRapacki who died of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) two years ago. Officer VonRapacki was 29. As is common with HCM, VonRapacki’s death was very sudden and was not preceded by recognizable symptoms or warning signs of any kind.

    Detective Mike Failace of the Lyndhurst Police Department came up with the idea of hosting a Fun/Run Walk as part of a year-long campaign to raise awareness about the unusual condition and to raise money for research into its cause and cure. Failace estimates that the Lyndhurst Police Department will be able to donate $7000 to HCMA this year.

    Failace want to thank the entire community of Lyndhurst and especially the American Eastern Wellness Center in Lyndhurst for their generosity in donating to the HCMA.

    Jo-Ann VonRapacki, who helped to organize the event and was present at the race, describes her son, Keith, as “outgoing and loveable, a great guy.” His condition was not discovered despite the rigorous police training and physical evaluations he had undergone. The week before his death, Officer VonRapacki was engaged in a foot chase in the line of duty. Mrs. VonRapacki notes that for the rest of the week her son was not feeling 100% well, but that his symptoms were not overwhelming or obvious. The following Sunday, he passed away in his sleep.

    Lisa Salberg, President and Founder of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, said that it is important to raise awareness about HCM because the symptoms are common and easily overlooked or misdiagnosed. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, and heart palpitations. According to Salberg, the most common misdiagnosis of HCA is exercise-induced asthma.

    HCM can be diagnosed with an EKG and/or an echocardiogram. Salberg notes that both tests are non-invasive and that the EKG often costs less than $100. Once a correct diagnosis is made, the condition can be treated effectively with a range of therapies including medication or an implanted electronic defibrillator.

    Salberg has lost 4 family members to HCM and has an implanted electronic defibrillator. She also carries a portable defibrillator because the genetic links to the disease place her daughter at risk. Salberg would like to see portable defibrillators, which are smaller than a shoebox, become the next fire extinguishers and kept within easy reach in public places and homes.

    Detective Failace was Officer VonRapacki’s unofficial barber when VonRapacki was a new recruit at the Lyndhurst Police Department. Failace made sure that VonRapacki’s hair was kept short enough for the Police Academy. Failace hopes that the Fun Run/Walk shows the people of Lyndhurst that their police force cares about and is involved in the community. He is happy to be part of an event that helps to promote physical fitness on the force and in the community.

    Captions:

    Photo of Woman, Box, Little Girl

    Lisa Salberg, President and Founder of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, with her daughter and the Portable Electronic Defibrillator she carries at all times. Salberg has the condition which can lead to sudden cardiac death, and her daughter is genetically at risk of developing HCM.

    Foursome with picture

    Mayor DeLascio, George and Jo-Ann VonRapacki holding a picture of their son, officer Keith VonRapacki, Lyndhurst Police Department, who died of HCM two years ago, and Detective Mike Failace at Sunday’s Fun Run/Walk in Lyndhurst.

    Group shot

    Jim Spano and a group of friends he recruited to participate in Sunday’s Run/Walk to benefit the HCMA. Spano’s cousin, Office Keith VonRapacki of the Lyndhurst Police Department died of HCM 2 years ago.
    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)
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