The Young Hearts 4 Life Organization Hosting EKG screening at Fremd on Feb. 15

Aishwarya Eathara, Staff Writer

William Fremd High School has partnered with Young Hearts 4 Life, and on Feb. 14, students and young adults will be able to participate in heart screenings. All students will be eligible for these screenings, but permission from a parent or guardian is required upon registration. The Young Hearts 4 Life organization is a mission dedicated to spreading awareness for Sudden Cardiac Death and providing free EKGs, which are heart screenings used to detect potentially deadly or rare cardiac conditions.

Denise Arenz, the program director for Young Hearts 4 Life, explains the organization’s hope for the impact they want on the Fremd community.

“The impact YH4L wants to have on Fremd is to screen as many students as possible so that the maximum number of students can benefit from this free screening that can potentially save lives,” she said.

Since 2006, they have provided over 285,000 free EKGs and helped diagnose over 3,100 young adults with unknown heart conditions with their resources. The program also helps educate community members and has trained over 19,000 volunteers to help with screenings.

Jodi Roos, a former Fremd parent sponsor of the program, explains how frequently these schools offer the EKGs through this program. Fremd has partnered with Young Hearts 4 Life in both 2016 and 2019.

“I know from my previous screening that YH4L representatives and Mr. Dick (former Fremd Activities Director) shared that District 211 has partnered with them so that all of the district high schools get this screening, and the district rotates it so that each high school can offer the screening every 2-3 years,” Roos said. 

The free EKGs, also known as electrocardiograms, effectively help determine many different types of cardiac disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, an electrocardiogram is a painless way to diagnose heart problems.

The simple tool can determine 70 percent of the cardiac conditions associated with Sudden Cardiac Death and is more effective than a prior physical. 

Young Hearts 4 Life has partnered with many memorial funds that have been established by families who have lost loved ones to Sudden Cardiac Death. These funds go directly towards the organization and are used for funding their important mission. 

A participant of the process in the Young Hearts 4 Life information video recounted his experience after the screening. 

“It’s a very simple, very easy process to get done. It took me ten minutes,” he said.

The procedure is quick, as electrodes are attached to the student, and then a machine prints out information about the heart’s rate and rhythm based on the heart’s electrical activity. Afterward, the information is presented to trained cardiac professionals who interpret the results.

Over 60 young adults can die from Sudden Cardiac Death in the United States in just one week. Sudden Cardiac Death happens even when one is perceived to be healthy, and there are almost no warning signs. By catching undiagnosed heart conditions early, many young adults will have the chance to take preventative measures. 

The organization has also hosted events in nearby high schools, such as at Hinsdale Central, as they were able to identify 10 students who had heart conditions. This information allowed the students the opportunity to take precautions after their screening.

For more information about Young Hearts 4 Life, you can visit this link: