We commend Alyssa Mehlhorn, for her work as a volunteer for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, and in particular, for organizing a heart screening for fellow students as her senior high school project.
Alyssa Mehlhorn couldn’t decide on a topic for her senior research paper. She wanted to focus on a debate in the medical community and wasn’t having much luck, until her grandmother, a volunteer for The Max Schewitz Foundation, suggested Sudden Cardiac Death in teens.
The high school senior began to research the topic and quickly learned EKG testing for high school students was definitely a debate. The more she learned the more she wanted to hold an EKG testing in Pittsburg. But, it wasn’t going to be easy to coordinate in less than five months.
“Everyone told me a screening couldn’t be done,” said Mehlhorn. “I wouldn’t be able to find a doctor to help me. I wouldn’t be able to find a place to hold the screening. I wouldn’t be able to do a project like this in such a short time. But, I was determined to make it happen.”
Alyssa didn’t want to take “no” for an answer. Through her research, she came across the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Their offices were nearby and she started volunteering. She met some wonderful people that were willing to help including Dr. Murali
, a cardiologist from a Pittsburgh hospital, (and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Director) who agreed to read the results from her testing. She also partnered with local EMTs, who offered to let Alyssa use their EKG machines for the testing.
She held a three-hour testing on a Saturday morning and tested 30 students. Two had abnormal findings on their EKG test and were referred for additional medical evaluation.
Alyssa is now a firm believer that EKG testing should be offered to high school athletes and students. “My high school does drug testing, concussion testing and requires a physical each year to play sports. It seems like an EKG would be a natural fit.”
Reflecting back on her senior year project, Alyssa said, “It was neat to see it all come together. I have always been very athletic and wanted to find out why and how these cardiac conditions happen. This project has made me really interested in cardiology. I am a freshman at Duquesne University now and enrolled in their 5-year Physician Assistant program with hopes of someday getting into cardiology.”
We always ask our parent volunteers who help at our Screens for Teens heart checks to tell two people about their experience and why they volunteered. You never know, another screening could be inspired by word of mouth! Thanks, Alyssa and Grandma Eunice of Antioch, IL.
SOURCE: Max Foundation