Does your child have a heart condition?

One Phoenix, Ariz. mom had no idea her son had a heart condition until he suddenly died back in 2000.

Since the loss of her only son, Sharon Bates has worked hard to educate people on the warning signs and why early detection can save lives.

“Anthony had no symptoms,” Bates said. “He had no warning signs.”

Bates’ son Anthony died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

“The warning signs are chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting and Anthony didn’t have any of those that he complained about,” Bates said. “Anthony was also a football player.”

The 20-year-old played football for Kansas State.

Doctors would discover Anthony had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; a disease where the heart muscle is abnormally thick and can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

“Children can die from sudden cardiac death arrest at anytime from birth on up,” Bates said. “It can be presented with symptoms, but in many cases it’s the only symptom they have, is sudden death.”

Since her son’s death, Bates created the Anthony Bates Foundation (ABF) and has provided free cardiac screenings for youth right here in Arizona and several other states.

“We’ve screened 7,500 young people in our career of screening and we’ve found 910 with problems,” Bates said. “And many of those problems are as simple as hypertension.”

People 12-years-old and up can take advantage of the screening tests including a blood pressure check, electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram (ECHO) and they even have a new station this year.

“They go learn how to do CPR, [use the] Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) and from there they will see the doctor to get all their results read,” Bates said.

It’s those results that Bates believes if something is found, can save a young person’s life.

“So would you rather have what I have [son no longer here] or find out you have something that can be taken care of,” Bates said.

The next Anthony Bates Foundation cardiac screening will April 6 at Diamond Canyon School in Anthem, Ariz. from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

While there is no charge for the child heart screenings at this event, a $40 donation will pay it forward for future tests and help the ABF purchase AED’s for area schools.

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