FAIR GROVE, Mo. An Ozarks family has made it their mission to help screen young people for hidden heart conditions. Devon Parrott and his family found out about his life-threatening heart condition six years ago, after he collapsed at school. Devon's Beat recently held its first heart screening event in the Springfield area.
Fair Grove schools welcomed Devon's Beat and ATS HeartCheck last Saturday to screen 56 kids. Devon's Beat has now helped nearly 600 kids get screened.
They get a blood pressure check, a 12 leed EKG and an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. The screening has found hidden heart conditions like Devon's in other kids. I even had my own daughter screened. The process was pain-free and only takes about 15 minutes.
The tests are not something a doctor will ususally prescribe unless someone is having serious symptoms, and the cost could be about two-thousand dollars. ATS HeartCheck does the screening for $129, but at Fair Grove's event, Devon's Beat cut that cost in half for families.
Devon's mom, Angela Parrott says, "What drives me the most is knowing that there was a chance that Devon wouldn't still be here. Had we not decided to go through with the EKG, we wouldn't have known about his condition. And I just feel like so many people have hidden conditions that they don't know about, and it's just kind of like a ticking time bomb."
I just got my daughter's screening report and everything checked out normal. Others may get some news that is bittersweet, but very valuable.
To learn more about Devon's Beat or how you can support their cause, visit the Devon's Beat Facebook page, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (660)287-2888
You can also mail donations to 16594 Highway C Lincoln, MO 65338
If you're interested in organizing a heart screening event, you can also contact ATS HeartCheck by clicking HERE.
Previous story from Oct. 22, 2018
Devon Parrott and his family found out the scary way about his heart condition. Now the mission of Devon's Beat is to get as many kids screened as possible.
Just looking at him, you'd never know 16 year old Devon Parrott has a heart condition. He's the kicker for the Lincoln High School football team.
"Doing pretty good this year. Everything else it's just the same, still get to do everything I've been doing, which is pretty great," Devon says.
In 2012, Devon passed out just walking down the hallway at school. His doctor suggested he have an EKG. "We did, because I was a little bit overprotective, and thank goodness, because that's when we found out that he has Long QT, which is a life-threatening heart condition," says Devon's mom, Angela Parrott.
Devon lives with an implanted defibrillator in his chest, and in 2015, it had do do it's job. "He did actually go into cardiac arrest twice and was saved by his device," Angela says. The survival rate from Cardiac Arrest is estimated to be around 5%.
Devon's Beat, which raises money with a 5K Run and Walk every Spring and other fundraisers, works to offer free or reduced cost heart screenings for other kids. They've screen 516 kids, and November 3rd, will add 56 more in Fair Grove.
"It's simple, and it's quick. It should just be a thing that you have to do, because it can save a life," says Devon.
ATS HeartCheck partners with schools and organizations all over the Midwest checking for hidden heart conditions with a blood pressure check, an EKG and an echocardiogram.
"It's really hard to get this type of testing done unless there is serious family history or the child has shown some significant signs that there may be something going on," says David Kuluva of ATS HeartCheck.
"Most of the time, you don't get a warning sign," says Angela.
Seven year old Benton Paxton, also a Lincoln student, got screened this Summer. Benton's mother, Michelle Paxton, says, "W really weren't expecting to get a phone call, because he has no symptoms of anything." But Michelle learned Benton has a condition causing an abnormally high heart rate. He'll have checkups with a cardiologist every six months.
"It's very important for kids to get screened, because like I said, Benton had no symptoms. So something could have happened to him and we wouldn't have had a clue," Paxton says.
Kuluva says, "Without a voice like Angela's and Devon's Beat educating parents about the importance and the prevalence of heart conditions, a lot of parents still don't understand."
Devon's Beat hopes to not only get kids screened, but show others that even with a life-threatening heart condition, life can still be full.
Devon says, "Well in my case, I didn't really have to change much, but even if you have to live with something for the rest of your life, it's better than not knowing and having something even worse happen."