I was honored to attend Parent Heart Watch’s 15th Annual Heart to Heart conference in Tampa, Florida, last weekend. It was great to see so many old friends and to meet so many new ones. It was a gathering like no other in the sudden cardiac arrest space. It was filled with pain about loss, joy about survival, and unbridled passion to prevent sudden cardiac death in youth. It was an intimate gathering that provided support, hope...and motivation to make a difference.
One of the highlights was a memorial service that honored the young people who were lost to SCA. Parents spoke briefly about their children and their ages when the tragedies happened. They also decorated rocks to honor their children to be placed at the base of a tree planted in their honor at a park in Tampa.
Friends of PHW, Rick Chap, a survivor, and Jennifer Chap, his rescuer, created a display of personalized candles recognizing the young victims. Jen read a poem, We Remember Them, by Sylvan Kames and Rabbi Jack Riemer.
I was asked to read a poem, Legacy of the Lost, that I had written for PHW years ago. I join PHW members and advocates in the hope that prevention of sudden cardiac death in youth will soon become the norm, rather than the exception.