Flint Farmers’ Market hosts Teen Heart Check

Tess DeGayner, Assistant Editor

In memory of Flushing student Thomas Smith, the Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation has paired with Hurley Children’s Hospital to sponsor the Teen Heart Check. Smith died in 2012 due to complications from an enlarged heart. This is an event to inspect all teenagers’ hearts to ensure their safety. Teens from the ages 13-19 can visit  the Flint Farmers’ Market free of charge on Saturday, Oct 17.

Doctors will be looking for signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. It often does not display symptoms, so check ups are highly recommended. The screening will include a questionnaire that will help the doctor review a heart’s history. Blood pressure and the electrical activity of one’s heart are important indications of HCM.

The foundation has screened the hearts of more than 1,500 youth and found 18 of them with critical heart problems. They have also worked hard to keep youth safe by donating two automated external defibrillator (AED) to organizations, 25 CPR/AED manikins to schools, and donating funding to provide 20 mobile cardiac screening rooms.

“We [the Smith Family] started doing the heart screenings in 2012,” Thomas’s mother Mary Smith said. “We provide the screenings for any teen in the state of Michigan. We usually travel to high schools in Genesee county, but this year it will be held at the Flint Farmers’ Market.”