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Meet Sharon Bates of Anthony Bates Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Bates.

Anthony Bates was 20 years old when he died from undiagnosed Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, HCM. Anthony, an only child, was an honor student, an Eagle Scout, and a Division I college football player at Kansas State University. Anthony starting playing football when he was nine years old. He played other sports throughout his youth including baseball, soccer, wrestling, but football was his true love.

Each year he was required to have a “pre-participation sports physical.” Heart examinations were not part of this annual process. Anthony’s HCM might have been detected when he had an EKG in conjunction with surgery on his finger, but there no detection of his heart problem then either. Though EKGs are required in surgery, 10% of people with HCM have normal EKGs. Apparently, Anthony must have been in that 10%. Young, strong and a dedicated athlete, Anthony never complained of any symptoms. Sadly, his perfect health was an illusion.

Sharon Bates was a single parent for most of Anthony’s life and their relationship was exceptionally close. In any case, the death of a child is a tragedy. The only thing making it more tragic is when it could be prevented through early detection. Within one year of Anthony’s death from undiagnosed HCM, Sharon learned a great deal about HCM and the dangers of this hidden heart ailment in young people. Anthony’s mom believes the work of all the passionate grassroots programs worldwide will spare thousands of parents the pain that she suffered so needlessly.

HCM is a genetic heart disease that attacks the heart muscle, typically during the teenage years. The only way to detect HCM is through an echocardiogram (sonogram image) of the heart. With early detection, a person can have a normal and productive life. In Anthony’s case, there was no detection.

There were no known cases of HCM or sudden death in Anthony’s family on either side of the family tree. His death came as a shock to everyone, including his two great-grandmothers and great-grandfather still living at the time of his death. Since Anthony’s death, his family has decided to go through a testing regimen of echocardiograms which is recommended. When HCM is present in a family, echocardiogram screening should be done every year for the adolescents and every five years for the young adults. Still years later, there is still no sign of HCM in any of Anthony’s extended family. Anthony’s doctors have theorized that in this case, the HCM gene may have spontaneously mutated.

Since Anthony’s death, Sharon began promoting heart health and education through the HCMA with fundraisers and events. She held golf tournaments, solicited donations from various organizations, and found other creative ways to raise funds. By 2002, the need to launch a foundation in her son’s name was necessary for our country. Hence, the birth of the Anthony Bates Foundation and the cardiac screening programs nationwide.

After learning how to successfully produce a community heart screening event, through the two pioneers, Holly Morrell & Arista, as they offered heart screenings in the USA, Sharon started screening youth nationwide. Sharon has demonstrated heart health through the FREE & Low-Cost Cardiac Screening Events in communities of Kansas, Arizona, Nevada, California, Washington, Colorado, and New York. The target has been students, athletes, and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24 years old. As of the November 2017, Sharon completed eighty-six (86) FREE & forty-five (45) Low-Cost heart screening events (echocardiogram and ECG testing) and provided over 13,750 echocardiogram and ECG tests for young people and their families. The most recent, November 5, 2017, at the CHD Heart Walk in Tempe, AZ.

ABF has captured interesting data from their heart screenings. While proving the importance of heart exams prior to athletic activity, ABF’s results have also proven that children do have hidden heart issues. Over 12% of the people screened have an abnormal result, as many as 8% are considered life-threatening which requires further cardiac testing. Cardiologists and research doctors in the HCM field have claimed for years that 1 in 250 people of the general population have or will develop HCM. This statistic translates to only .01% of the general population. The data at ABF is showing a much larger and more alarming number greater than 1 in 250.

The Anthony Bates Foundation is making a difference with screenings in the communities across the country. The first screening took place in Manhattan, Kansas, where Anthony attended college and the second screening, was in Phoenix where Anthony graduated at Mountain Pointe High School. The community involvement has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the success of each event. Parent and student volunteers, as well as volunteer doctors, nurses, nursing students and echocardiogram technicians assist with every screening. When education and awareness are provided to communities, people want heart screenings, they want to know their child’s heart health in advance. With education, there is power, with power comes life.

Community screenings are a necessity for every community that has student-athletes and access to medical professionals. The costs of putting together an FREE and Low-Cost Cardiac Screening vary depending on the size of the event. The smaller the event, the costlier the ratio per “participant.” For an event as large as 1,000 student-athletes/young adults the cost could be as low as $25 – 50 per person. When the event is half the size, 500 student athletes/young adults or below, the costs jump to a range of $50-$100 per person.

The efforts of the Anthony Bates Foundation can be multiplied by the involvement of communities nationwide. An ABF Community Screening Training Program is available on the website for compassionate people willing to sacrifice some time to save young lives from undetected heart ailments. Sharon Bates is offering her consulting and training services to help assist communities nationally. She will speak to groups about the impact of such events and provide a great resource to make your efforts successful – young lives will be saved! Visit the website and contact ABF for more information.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Resources have always been an obstacle. The main Obstacle / Challenge is Funding as this resource dictates the number of ABF screening events possible. With any non-profit, ABF is always available to receive our next donations of support. Additionally, the naivety of the communities we serve has taken years to bridge such a gap. Too many children are dying in the USA and more can be done to provide heart screens for teens! Student-Athletes must be aware of the cardiac symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, blackouts, or fainting) to watch for in their bodies.

As well, the Parents of a Student-Athlete must be aware of these symptoms, too. Plus, ABF has Challenged in reaching the Parent populous. High School is a busy time for students and a somewhat freeing time for Parents but the high school Student attempts to share less about school life or activities related to the well-being of the said Student. Getting the word out to the families of high school Students is Challenging to say the least … ask the school administrators that deal with the same problem as ABF.

Athletics carries another Challenge and many Obstacles. The Student-Athlete, just like Anthony, want to play on the team of their selected sport. Complaints run the risk of disqualification, hence, silence of the cardiac symptoms (see list above) occasionally go unreported. This is dangerous and confusing. Dangerous as a hidden or undiagnosed heart issue, as in Anthony, can cause a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) which could lead to a Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in approximately 92% of people that suffer an out of hospital SCA. The confusion of educating the Student-Athlete on the cardiac symptoms relates to many of these symptoms could be caused by being a teenager in a growing body.

Education of SCA to the Coaches, School Administration and Sports Support Team members has many Challenges and Obstacles. First, there are thousands of each of these members. Second, the coaches and school administration are already overwhelmed with handling the urgent needs of the team, not an unforeseen emergency. Lastly and sadly, when is the best time to host a screening, definitely not during the sports season.

The Challenges of medical volunteers (doctors, nurses, EKG technicians and Ultrasound technicians) have hampered a free-flowing screening process in the early years. ABF has a steady flow of medical volunteers at most all of the current screening events in Arizona. That is not to say that we don’t have the Challenges of life, emergencies, and unforeseen issues, but the use of volunteers allows the ABF program to stay cost-effective to the communities that are served.

There are also Challenges / Obstacles in the area health insurance environment for the “under” or “non” insured. Many of these individuals have no means to care for the “healthy” family individuals through said health insurance with good benefits. By offering an additional “non-standard” test for their Student-Athlete, finding a problem with their child athlete’s heart will add to the burden in such a household.

Economically, the health of our state of Arizona also gives ABF Challenges. When the AZ economy wanes, so does the attendance to the ABF Cardiac Screening events and our possibility for screening donations.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Anthony Bates Foundation – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
ABF is one of the three leading pioneers in cardiac screening for youth & families in the USA!

ABF provides cardiac screening through the organized events and training for organizations that would like to host their own cardiac screening event. Additionally, CPR/AED training sessions and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) education and awareness are important to the sharing the message to protect the community.

ABF conducts cardiac screenings, providing both low-cost access to healthcare and preventive cardiac tests to the public in Peoria and the surrounding communities. Participants receive noninvasive cardiac tests, including EKG’s, Echocardiograms and blood pressure readings conducted by volunteer medical professionals. A Board Certified Cardiologist reviews the results with each participant onsite and if a participant has a test result that shows evidence of a heart abnormality or other health concern, they are counseled and referred to local physicians for immediate follow-up treatment.

ABF also provides training to organizations and groups that would like to host their own cardiac screening event nationally and globally. An ABF Community Screening Training Program is available on the website. Sharon Bates offers her consulting and training services to help assist these organizations. Over 50 organizations have been trained by the Anthony Bates Foundation. In addition, ABF offers onsite training in CPR and AED usage with its partner, the Peoria Fire Department. Each minute counts when someone collapses with SCA so it’s critical to have an empowered public that can act when someone collapses as well as multiple AEDs available. ABF also promotes SCA education and awareness throughout the nation, including the City of Peoria. ABF believes that no parent should suffer the heartbreak of losing a child to an undiagnosed cardiac malady; we seek to eliminate preventable SCA.

The cardiac screenings that are located in the Arizona schools are open to the surrounding community. As an example of school district success, ABF cardiac screenings have been held at ALL the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) high schools. In the thirteen month project, 861 young hearts were screened and 31 lives were saved! As well, funding was raised through the screenings and grants that ALL the PUSD elementary schools received AED donations and had approximately 10% of the staff certified in CPR/AED through ABF.

Currently, ABF offers their services throughout the states of Arizona, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. ABF also hopes to continue expanding their reach to more states, evidently becoming a national movement.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
ABF is building a “research” team. Expectations are high to publish the results of years of screening and the findings of said results to prove the cost-effectiveness of community-based “prevention” cardiac screening in youth and families.

January 27, 2018, will be hosting their inaugural “5K Run/Walk 2 Screen Across America” This event marks a fun way for local Phoenix participants to support the cause. As well, virtual racers are welcome globally to participate and support “screening young hearts & saving young lives!”

Summer of 2018, ABF will be in Australia (AU). There are families in AU that have lost children to SCA/SCD and had attempted to motivate the medical community to collaborate on “heart screens for teens!” ABF will be approaching a joint effort through nursing honors society that will bring researchers and medical professionals to the table with additional governmental agencies to discuss next steps for children in AU. Then we will be helping families in Canada, too. Both these countries offer “socialized medicine” to their citizens, stating that providing cardiac screenings to youth would overburden their systems. But Japan, Italy, UK, and Ireland all offer cardiac screenings for youth and their systems are not overburdened. Taking small steps toward “saving young lives” is better than no steps at all.

Growth in the ABF is beginning to crescendo into a lovely effort that will continue to touch the lives of families beyond the walls of the small office in central Phoenix. Anthony’s legacy and Sharon’s passion brings the magic together to make a worldly impact. Heart to Heart, the ABF team & additional ABF trained national, & global teams have saved thousands of young lives! Celebrate the greatness of the love of one mother to protect another mother’s from experiencing the tragic loss of a child from a preventable SCA or SCD.

Pricing:

  • Community / School Cardiac Screening Days Across AZ (up to 500 screens per day):
  • students 10 y/o through 24 y/o – $40 to $65 (events with sponsors have lower ask fee)
  • adults during school events – $85
  • Private Low Cost Screening at Chiropractor or Naturopathic Physians Offices Across AZ (up to 20 screens per day):
  • students 10 y/o through 24 y/o – $65
  • adults – $165 (7 point evalution for adults)

Contact Info:


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