Making a Difference | The Peyton Walker Foundation
Every hour, every single day we lose a kid to Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
A stunning statistic from Julie Walker. The Cumberland county mom knows first-hand about the number one killer of student athletes in our country.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest took her 19-year-old daughter Peyton in November of 2013, when she was a sophomore at King's College.
"Peyton was actually studying to be a physician's assistant," said Julie. "She wanted to work in healthcare, so we really put our heads together and thought, this is a way that Peyton can work in healthcare. She can save lives. She won't physically be here doing this, but she's here in spirit."
Julie is referring to the heart screenings held at Carlisle High School on December 1 for 12 to 19 year olds.
It's part of the programs provided by the Peyton Walker Foundation, set up shortly after her death.
Julie says sports physicals and routine health physicals don't provide a thorough check of the heart.
"So we changed that dynamic. We provide free electrocardiograms. We check for murmurs. We check for students' vitals. If anything comes back abnormal, we will also provide a free echocardiogram on the spot," explained Julie.
“This is a gift to our students in the school district. This was a 'no-brainer'. When the Peyton Walker Foundation reached out to us and said would you? The question was when can we, not would we. So we knew right away that this was going to be great for kids”, said Colleen Friend, the Carlisle School District's Assistant Superintendent.
And parents in the Carlisle School District also knew it was a great opportunity - about 300 of them signed up their children for the screenings.
Chris Conway, signed up son for screenings and said, "Not just for kids that have sports issues, but any kid that can have a heart issue. It's nice to find that out ahead of time."
And like swimmer Mattie Brummer who is a 10th grader, they also took advantage of the CPR clinics.
“It's nice to know that you can save someone's life and like, just be there to help and just know that you can help someone out in an emergency situation," said Brummer.
"About 400,000 people every year in the United States suffer Sudden Cardiac Arrest and currently the national average is only 7% of people survive it," said CPR Instructor Bill Odoms. "So, if we can do all of this in the first two minutes, they have a 70% chance or more of surviving so an additional quarter million people a year could survive sudden cardiac arrest just by what they're learning today at Carlisle High School."
"We know that we're saving kids' lives and we're saving other parents and other families from the heartache that we lived through every day, so that makes it worthwhile," said Julie.