Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation Unite with NJ Legislators to Safeguard Students from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

TENAFLY, NJ-- Lisa Yue, founding executive director of the Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF), joined Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ6) and Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan today at a press conference at South Plainfield Middle School, N.J. to call attention to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the young and the legislation needed to keep students safe in school.

In 2010, two Middlesex County students, Kittim Sherrod and Brandon James, both collapsed during school athletic activities. Each had an undiagnosed heart disease – cardiomyopathy – that caused their death. Cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally enlarged, thickened or stiffened, is a leading cause of SCA in children and young adults.

Getting more children with cardiomyopathy properly diagnosed and treated is a priority for CCF, a national organization founded by Lisa Yue who lost two sons to the disease. Determined to not have another family endure the grief she suffered, Ms. Yue established CCF in 2002 to increase research, education and awareness of all cardiomyopathies affecting children. 

"It is an honor to be here today with Congressman Pallone and Assemblyman Diegnan," said Lisa Yue. "Congressman Pallone has been a steadfast ally on this issue, and we continue to work together on legislation to identify more children with cardiomyopathy that may be prone to sudden cardiac arrest. Specifically, the Cardiomyopathy HEARTS Act, encourages schools to be aware of cardiomyopathy and prepared for a cardiac emergency, and encourages families to evaluate their cardiac history, check for cardiomyopathy symptoms and seek medical screening if necessary." 

The Cardiomyopathy HEARTS Act, reintroduced by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Rep. Pallone this year, would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to develop educational materials and resources for the public — regarding cardiomyopathy symptoms, risk factors, training in lifesaving procedures and implementation of a cardiac emergency response plan — and disseminate them to schools and families as well as post them on the CDC website.  

CCF family member from West Caldwell, N.J., Peter Torok, attended the press event with his daughter, Anna, who has dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). "Anna is lucky. She was diagnosed and is currently stable on a regimen of heart medication, " said Peter. "However, there are thousands of undiagnosed kids who are still at-risk for sudden cardiac death."

"Today we are united to ensure more individuals with cardiomyopathy are diagnosed and appropriately treated before they fall victim to sudden cardiac death," said Pallone. "I am proud to work with CCF, who continues to raise awareness and has been an invaluable source of support for federal legislation efforts."

Lisa Yue also thanked Assemblyman Diegnan for his work on behalf of New Jersey students. "New Jersey is leading the way in cardiac arrest awareness with legislation requiring schools to have automatic external defibrillators and cardiac emergency action plans and establishing a statewide database on SCA in youth," said Lisa Yue. "My hope is that some day all states will have the same laws in place as New Jersey."

SOURCE: PR Newswire

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