The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

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Heart Screens for Teens: Hearts of Cathedral’s Proactivity in Preventing Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sarah Brown
The Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation collaborated with CCHS Hearts of Cathedral Club to offer free EKGs and CPR training for our community.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the #1 killer of student athletes and the leading cause of death on school campuses. Because nearly 70% of Cathedral Catholic High School’s (CCHS) student body is active in at least one sport, it is especially important that action be taken to detect heart conditions before it’s too late. The CCHS Hearts of Cathedral Club collaborated with Eric Paredes’s Save a Life initiative to offer free heart scans on Saturday, December 9 in the Claver Center Gymnasium. 

From 9:30am to 2:30pm, 660 community members between 12-25 years old showed up for a screening. 150 representatives from Hearts of Cathedral facilitated the event to assist in the stations of the appointments: initial check-in, measurement of vitals, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, electrocardiography (EKG) screening, a doctor consultation to analyze results, and a echocardiogram if necessary. 

Vice President of Hearts of Cathedral, Alexandria (Xani) Peña ‘24, advises, “You never really know what could be going on, especially in athletes where heart abnormalities are very common.” 

President Chiara Bonomi ‘25 adds, “It’s way more prevalent in youth than most people think…It’s important to bring awareness to that but also provide our community with resources to get their heart screened.” 

Clearly, there is a dire need for accessible heart screenings, and these girls took initiative. In preparation, the club leaders stayed in close contact with the Eric Paredes Foundation and raised money to sponsor the event through bake sales, merchandising, and other school sanctioned fund raisers.

The event revealed ten heart abnormalities, seven of which were serious enough to cause sudden cardiac arrest. These results yield curiosity: What would happen if these went undiagnosed? This is precisely why Hearts of Cathedral educates teens: to teach students why sudden cardiac arrest occurs and how to act as a bystander of a victim. 

In addition to the “various club meetings where we showed how to perform CPR,” Peña mentions that a CPR simulation and educational video were available for anyone registered for a heart scan at the site. Bonomi emphasizes the applications of this training, “If a bystander is trained in CPR, the chance of survival increases by three times.” 

Sports physicals are not designed to detect heart abnormalities as accurately as an EKG, given these conditions tend to have unrecognized warning signs and risks. This is why international guidelines recommend screening every two years through the age of 25. Knowing the risks are essential to changing the statistics of cardiac arrest in teenagers. 

In the future, Hearts of Cathedral plans to continue volunteering at heart scanning events off-campus. However, they hope to invite the Eric Paredes Foundation back to CCHS to host community scans in coming years. 

Bonomi stresses the importance of joining her club in Cassidy Smith’s ‘23 article “Hearts of Cathedral”, “Our purpose is to save lives. Too many teenagers are dying from sudden cardiac arrest. It is very meaningful and rewarding to know that you are changing not just the lives of teenagers who may have died from sudden cardiac arrest, but also those of their friends and family.”

Join the Hearts of Cathedral Club. Save a Life. 

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About the Contributor
Sarah Brown, Editor in Chief
Sarah Brown. Cheerleader, journalist, and vegan. Sarah has three siblings, all in college and her sister attends Colorado State University. She failed drivers test this summer so watch out! (Just kidding!) Green Yerba Mates make her feel reborn as she drinks them everyday at school. Sarah loves purple so much she had an attachment at a young age, making her feel obligated to continue such liking. At home she has a giant, slobbery Pitt Bull that her dad named Buddy. However, Buddy is not alone. Kiwi is their cat that they just recently added to the Brown family. As an Ambassador for Christ Sarah was inspired to continue to serve outside the school community. She babysits a two year old and a five year old. She hopes to continue her love for journalism by perusing it in college, whether it be as a lawyer or even writing her own book!  

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