RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News teamed up with the Ryan Lopynski Big Heart Foundation Saturday to make sure your children are heart healthy.
Free heart screenings were given today to catch early warning signs, something that is not usually tested for in children otherwise considered healthy.
8News spoke with Jeremy Lopynski, the mother of Ryan Lopynski who died of sudden cardiac arrest from an undiagnosed heart problem nearly eight years ago. Now she and her husband have devoted themselves to preventing the same from happening to others.
“About 1,000 kids die a day from sudden cardiac arrest,” Jeremy said.
Saturday’s event, which was held at the University of Richmond, gave families a chance to test their kids for cardiac abnormalities, something that isn’t included in a child’s normal yearly physical.
“We go around to different high schools and colleges, screening students from 12 to 26,” Jeremy continued.
8News also spoke with Dori Pierce, a volunteer at the event. She spoke about her admiration for the Lopynski’s.
“I love that they give back and search for something that can truly help people learning if they do have a cardiac condition so they can tend to their cardiac health,” Pierce said.
One parent agreed.
“They gave us something to follow up on, but they don’t think it’s anything serious, but they said we should follow up on it,” Andy Girvin said.
So far, the screenings have saved lives.
“Two kids, individual kids have had to have surgeries with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome … it was very serious,” Jeremy said about the results of previous screenings. “And to this day they say, wow, you’ve saved my life, and we try to do that as often as we can.”
To date, the foundation has screened 3,500 people. Jeremy said that they have caught an abnormality every time they have held a screening.
“Every day I miss my son,” Jeremy said. “It’s difficult every day, but this brings my husband and I joy, it really does. We don’t want this to happen to any other family.”
Jeremy Lopynski, Ryan’s mother said if she could, she would do this full time.