OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Youth and young adults were offered free heart screenings in Oceanside Sunday afternoon to support awareness of sudden cardiac arrest.
Last year, Kristina Cordileone got a phone call no parent ever wants to receive. She found out her son, Marco Benitez, fainted in P.E. class at Madison Middle School.
"They brought me in to watch CPR performed on him for 2 minutes. The doctor said kids are born with heart conditions, and you don’t know until something happens, and to me, that is not okay," said Cordileone.
Benitez later died due to an undetected heart condition.
"He had just turned 13. He had plans to go on his first date that weekend," Cordileone cries.
Cordileone wants to do everything she can to ensure no other child lives with an undetected heart problem.
That's why Sunday, 343 young adults ages 12 through 25 were in line to get a free heart screening from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. The event included a cardiac risk assessment, EKGs, and CPR lessons.
It's something that’s put on by The Eric Parades Save A Life Foundation, named after Rhina Parades' son, who she also lost to sudden cardiac arrest in 2009 when he was just 15.
"Later, the coroner called us and said Eric had fatal Arimathea. We probably would have found out if he had a heart screening like the ones we are doing today," said Parades.
Both mothers take prevention to heart, while Cordileone hopes Benitez's memory will fly high.
"They are doing these tests for free; it's amazing and heartwarming," she says.
After the free heart screening event concluded, the volunteer staff says six students had cardiac abnormalities that will need to follow up with their doctors, one student was at risk for sudden cardiac arrest; something these students may not have known if it wasn't for this screening event.
The following free heart screening event will be on February 5 in Escondido.
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