SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, 1,500 people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac arrest, which has become the leading cause of death on school campuses.
And that’s why some families around San Diego County are hoping their stories will encourage others to get screened.
Parent Karen Wells said, “This can happen to anyone. This can happen to a kid that looks so healthy and is so healthy, with the exception of this hidden thing.”
Wells’ son Carson has always been a ball of energy. He has been playing sports since he was in kindergarten, passing sports evaluation after sports evaluation.
But one day, Wells said she decided to sign her family up for one of the health screenings offered by the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation.
It was during this screening when Wells learned Carson had a heart condition. After tests and seeing a cardiologist, Carson was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW), which means he had an extra pathway in his heart.
Carson needed surgery to get that fixed.
“He has three siblings who were screened, no history of heart issues in our family. It's just something he was born with and it flew under the radar,” Wells said.
Carson fully recovered and is now using his experience to help others.
Aside from volunteering with Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation, he’s also developed a passion for the medical field.
He’s now studying to be a nurse, serving as a research assistant focusing on cardiac research.
Eric Paredes was a healthy Steele Canyon High School sophomore who was in his kitchen when he collapsed and died one day in 2009.
It was determined that Eric passed away from sudden cardiac arrest.
Since then, the teen’s family -- through the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation -- has made it their mission to raise awareness about this quiet condition.