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Hundreds of San Diego teens get their hearts screened

cardiac screen.jpg
Posted at 4:14 PM, Apr 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-03 21:20:18-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Rhina Paredes-Greeson wears a button showing her and her son Eric, smiling wide.

It was 2009, and 15-year-old Eric was blossoming as a wrestler and football player at Steele Canyon High School.

"Just because your child looks healthy, doesn't mean that they are heart-healthy," said Paredes-Greeson.

Later that year, Eric collapsed on the kitchen floor with Sudden Cardiac Arrest. CPR efforts were unsuccessful.

On Sunday, April 3, Eric's parents Rhina Paredes-Greeson and Hector Paredes continued their efforts to protect other families from going through the same tragedy.

Their nonprofit, the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation, hosted a free heart screening at Kearny High School, with more than 350 teenagers coming in for an EKG to be reviewed by a cardiologist -- not part of a typical annual physical.

"Honestly it makes me feel like my son's death was not in vain," said Rhina.

In 35,000 screenings at more than 60 events since 2010, the organization has discovered about 600 heart anomalies in youth, including 267 as series as Eric's. Now, Rhina and Hector are buoyed by proposed legislation from State Sen. Brian Jones that would create a pilot program for free screening for predictors of Sudden Cardiac Arrest for youth in grades 5 through 12.

"It's our hope that the data will then produce the reason why we should be changing the standard of care and making EKGs part of the standard of care," Hector said.

The foundation has its next event planned for June 5 at El Cajon Valley High School.