Plano Profile February 2011 : Page 11

During the football game on October 22, 2010 between Plano East and Flower Mound, the cheerleaders, drill team, and football players wore red wristbands, socks, or tape in memory of Zac. Photos courtesy of Karen Schrah discovered through the American Heart Association that nationwide, 10,000 young people die from it each year—28 people a day. L4Z has partnered with THE HEART HOSPITAL Baylor Plano—the first full-service hospital in this region dedicated solely to heart-health care—to offer heart screenings on Saturdays for youth ages 13–22. While insurance doesn’t cover this preventive screening, it is only $100 and includes a blood pressure screen, electrocardiogram (EKG), and a 2D echocardiogram. The screenings have served 386 youth since L4Z’s inception, and 35 have been referred on for further evaluation and treatment. Living for Zachary has also purchased AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) to give back to the community. An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically warns of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias through defibrillation. Defibrillation is electrical therapy that stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. How much does an AED cost? “Close to $1,500,” answers Karen. “We’ve given them to Plano East Senior High School, to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County, and we gave one to MADFROG Volleyball, where a 9th-grade girl from Allen recently had SCA, so we donated an AED to them in her honor. She survived. We’ve also sent one on a medical mission to Haiti.” One of Living for Zachary’s long-term goals is to purchase a mobile unit in which volunteers can travel to different schools and football camps to administer screenings. But for now, Karen said, “there is still so much work to do in our own backyard. “My 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, works at a local Tom Thumb and customers ask her all the time about her L4Z wrist band. It surprises me how many people still don’t know about it. It just seems like everyone in our community should know.” Karen’s frustration is only motivation. She draws strength from family and friends and admits that Living for Zachary is what gets her out of bed in the mornings. It keeps her going, and in some way, it keeps Zac alive. New this year, Living for Zachary has organized a fundraising gala, as well as a scholarship program. “Our goal is to give $15,000 in scholarships, which includes $2,500 to three graduating seniors from all of the senior high schools in Plano,” says Karen, “and $1,000 to a graduating football player at each of the schools, as well as $1,000 to a trainer at Plano East.” An additional scholarship is being reviewed and will be finalized this spring. At the close of our conversation, we asked Karen what Zac would say if he were alive today to see the community’s efforts in raising awareness for SCA. She glances back at the picture hanging on the wall. “I think he would say it’s amazing—what we have done, what we can do, how many doors have opened, who we’ve met….” How many lives may have been saved? “Yes, it’s overwhelming, the idea of us saving lives through him,” says Karen. “After he passed away, I was sitting in the hospital and thought, ‘There has to be a reason for Zac’s death, some sort of purpose… that something good was going to come from this.” She takes a deep breath and declares, “This is it.” To learn more or to donate to Living for Zachary online, visit Living for Zachary creates awareness and saves lives Close to 1,000 registered participants joined in The Living for Zachary Heart Run held on October 23, 2010 at The Shops at Legacy. HeartBeats Gala: Bright Lights, Broadway Nights Living for Zachary’s first HeartBeats Gala is Saturday, February 19 from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Marriott Plano at Legacy Town Center. Themed “Bright Lights, Broadway Nights,” the black-tie event will include a gourmet dinner, live music, and dancing. The gala raises funds for local scholarships and much-needed, life-saving AEDs for local children’s organizations and schools. Guests will enjoy live music by Goga while browsing through silent auction items from autographed sports gear to luxury hotel getaways. Big board offerings will include a home theater package and a landscaping package. A live auction will consist of Caribbean vacations and fine jewelry. Dancing to the music of Limelight (an Emerald City production) will complete the evening. The gala is sponsored by THE HEART HOSPITAL Baylor Plano, and tickets can be purchased by calling 214.514.0368 or at February 2011 Plano Profile. COM 11 Win an iPad! See page 5 and sign up for our drawing on

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