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Pennsylvania teen spearheading life-saving effort to have young people check their hearts

Teen From Pennsylvania leads the charge to save lives with heart checks for young people
Teen From Pennsylvania leads the charge to save lives with heart checks for young people 01:52

FLOURTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — More than a hundred young people signed up to have their hearts checked Thursday, as a local teen spearheaded the effort to save lives.

As 18-year-old Grace Kyle looked through her Mount Saint Joseph Academy yearbook, she remembered her favorite graduate — big sister Caroline.

"She had a very loving heart," Grace said. "She was always looking out for others."

In 2022, 19-year-old Caroline died from a heart condition that went undetected.

"We had no clue," Grace remembered. "She was always an athlete growing up. She was always active. She was a happy, healthy teenage girl."

Simon's Heart

Thursday, Grace helped organize a screening by Simon's Heart. She along with organization executive director Jenn Parrado prepared to welcome more than 100 young people to the event. Those participating would receive a free heart screening, a screening Parrado believed might have saved Grace's sister.

"Had she gone through an EKG, had she had a heart condition that we knew about, she would just be on a simple medicine and be with us today," Parrado said.

Simon's Heart was named for Simon Sudman who was just three months old when he died 20 years ago of sudden cardiac arrest. The group estimated at least 2,000 young people under the age of 20 die from the condition every year. Parrado said the group's mission is not to scare anyone but to empower them.

"And likely, you'll go home with an EKG that is super clear. There is a small percentage that we say, 'Take this EKG to a pediatric cardiologist, get that second look, and then you'll be good to go."

And with so many students joining in this fight to save lives, Grace said Caroline would be proud.

"I feel like she would love to see making a difference one person at a time," she said.

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