Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Waldwick Student's Legacy of Precaution

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Waldwick Student's Legacy of Precaution

Article excerpt

WALDWICK -- Five years ago, 13-year-old Sean Fisher collapsed during football practice and died of an undiagnosed heart condition.

His parents want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else's child.

One hundred freshmen are taking the stage this week at Waldwick Junior/Senior High School's little theater for potentially lifesaving heart screenings.

The free electrocardiogram and ultrasound heart, blood pressure, body mass, and height and weight screenings, which take 30 minutes, were started by the Sean Fisher Memorial Foundation, a non-profit established by Jimmy and Sheila Fisher a year after their son's death.

The eighth-grader, who was seemingly in fit condition, was running drills on the school field when he collapsed on Aug. 25, 2008. It was his birthday.

Some thought their beloved and good-natured friend was joking as he lay motionless on the field. Sean was given CPR and taken to The Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sean, it turned out, had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His parents have worked tirelessly since then to establish the foundation that finances the free screenings. Its outreach is about to expand this fall to another school district in Bergen County anxious to screen freshmen before the school year.

The timing is poignant, said Jimmy Fisher, since Sean would have graduated from Waldwick High School in June.

"It's something Sean would have been very proud of," he said of the foundation.

As Waldwick students entered the little theater Monday to be hooked up to cardiac monitors set up by CardiacScan Imaging, Jimmy Fisher spoke of the Gift of Life Foundation and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, which raised awareness of the screenings.

Sabrina Colavita, 15, who plays basketball, softball, and volleyball for Waldwick, was eager to take the tests. "It's an honor to be able to see that our school is actually doing this for us," she said. "Our principal told us about it and spoke very highly of it."

The testing - in which 100 of the school's 115 freshman are participating - could potentially keep a child from dying on the field, track, or ball court. …

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