Last Sunday, we were fortunate to sponsor and attend a symposium on arrhythmia management. We heard from some very accomplished cardiologists. At lunch, we were introduced to the attendees by our friend, Dr. Vicki Vetter. Here is here intro.
It is my great pleasure and honor to have this opportunity to tell you about Simon’s Fund and its founders, Phyllis and Darren Sudman.
To save a child’s life and then another…by raising awareness of conditions that lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death. That is the mission statement of Simon’s Fund.
Simon Sudman was a beautiful child, born on October 21, 2005. He, like every other child, was a precious unique soul. He cried. He smiled. He took a nap and didn’t wake up. His death was labeled SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, but after an electrocardiographic abnormality was found in the family, he was presumed to have died from a fatal arrhythmia associated with long QT syndrome.
We are all inspired by the courage and compassion that allows Darren and Phyllis to rise above this tragedy with a mission to spare others the pain that they have experienced.
You are here because you are an expert in sudden cardiac death related topics or because you want to learn more about sudden cardiac death. In the medical profession, we know that there is always more to learn and advances to be made. But the Sudmans know that there is more to do, and they are doing it.
On October 21, 2006, on Simon’s first birthday, the newly founded Simon’s Fund hosted its first ECG screening event at World Café Live here in Philadelphia. It was a small screening, less than a hundred children and no abnormalities were found. But that didn’t stop the Sudmans from moving forward with many more heart health screenings over the next 6 years. With almost 4000 children screened and many identified with potentially threatening conditions, they have made a difference.
Simon’s Fund has a diversity not found in many organizations. Yes, they host screenings and have worked with our group at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in many venues including schools and museums, such as the Please Touch Museum. They have traveled to many screenings around the country and have involved many other institutions in our area in screenings. This is as it should be to expand the reach of the work. They have been involved in the Athlete Health Organization preparticipation screenings of over a thousand Philadelphia high school students in the early summer, a collaboration of health providers around our city. They have supported a newborn ECG screening program at Abington Memorial Hospital for medically underserved newborns. They have worked with Parent Heart Watch, a national organization of parents who have lost children to sudden cardiac death to bring awareness of this condition.
Simon’s fund has sponsored medical research by supporting our screenings which aim to determine the best methods to identify youth at risk for sudden cardiac death. Additionally, they have sponsored medical students in the summer after their first year of medical school to participate in research related to sudden cardiac death for several years.
They have heightened awareness of sudden cardiac arrest by hosting a number of events around the area and have sponsored a Sudden Cardiac Arrest awareness bill in the Pennsylvania legislature that will educate school and athletic staff about the warning signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac death. They have lobbied for AEDs in schools, as well. And, they have supported educational programs including the one you are attending today.
If you are interested in sudden cardiac death, please find a way to support the mission of Simon’s Fund, to save a child’s life… and then another. It is a great pleasure to introduce my friends, Phyllis and Darren Sudman.