Heart screening saves Waldwick teen from serious health risks



Then he participated in the Sean Fisher Memorial Foundation’s annual heart screenings at the high school.

The screening detected that Matthew had arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat.

“He was having frequent extra heartbeats,” said Jessica. “What we were told is the amount and frequency he was having is what was making it so abnormal. It needed to be treated.”

The arrhythmia was being caused by “rogue” heart cells disrupting Matthew’s normal heartbeat. If left untreated, it could have led to serious health issues. And in years of doctor visits, the condition had never been detected.

“You go for your well visits and everything checks fine,” said Jessica. “When screenings are offered like this, you realize how many kids are out there that don’t know that they have this.”

The foundation and its screenings came about in the aftermath of the death of Sean Fisher, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during a football game on his 13th birthday, Aug. 25, 2008. Fisher had had an undetected heart condition and his parents, James and Sheila, created the foundation to raise awareness about the condition and to prevent the same thing from happening to other children.

“I think we were the first ones to initiate this,” said James Fisher, Sean’s father and co-founder of the foundation. “Certainly in Bergen County.”

The screenings, which this year began Monday, March 7, and are being held through Friday, March 11, take about 25 minutes. In addition to recording height, weight and blood pressure, students are given electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and are tested for oxygen saturation. Hundreds of students have been screened in the previous six years, helping diagnose conditions such as high blood pressure, bicuspid aortic valves and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. While most students choose to keep the results of the screenings private, the Rypkemas put a face on the risk of an undiagnosed heart condition.

“It’s nice that somebody’s finally coming forward,” James Fisher said of the Rypkemas. “There’s been other kids caught” with heart conditions or other ailments, “but to what degree, you don’t know. We’re elated that Matthew was detected — or that anyone else is. But we’re even happier that he’s brave enough to come forward and share his story.”

After receiving the results, the Rypkemas sought treatment to eliminate any long-term issues. At their doctor visits, the screenings were praised for detecting what had not been seen on any tests prior.

The treatment prescribed for Matthew was a cardiac ablation, a cauterization of the heart cells disrupting his regular heartbeat. He underwent the procedure in July.

“After the cardiac ablation, on our ride home from the hospital, he was saying, ‘Mom, I think there’s something wrong. We need to go back to the hospital,’ ” said Jessica. “I asked him what was wrong. He said, ‘I don’t feel my heartbeat anymore.’ ”

Matthew, 15, is now “100 percent” and has started the baseball season.

“We were truly humbled by the whole thing,” said Jessica. “You don’t realize what’s happening. There’s a lot of stories. We feel we need to pay it forward to bring to light and advocate for the heart screenings. There are parents who don’t realize what’s happening.”

“Thank God for the Fisher foundation screening him,” said Harold.

For more information, visit seanfishermemorialfoundation.org.


Source: http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/clubs-and-service-organizations/screenings-uncover-heart-irregularity-in-need-of-treatment-1.1525754

Save the Date: 8th Annual Golf Outing

The 8th Annual Sean Fisher Memorial Golf Outing date and new location have been set!

Monday, May 16, 2016
Darlington Golf Course
279 Campgaw Road, Mahwah, NJ

— 7:30 AM – Breakfast at Brady’s At The Station
— 8:30 AM – Registration at Darlington
— 9:00 AM – Golf Shotgun Start
— Dinner following golf at Brady’s

Visit our Golf Outing page for Registration and full details.

Hope to see you there!


Sean Fisher Foundation donates defibrillators

Sheila and James Fisher, right, presenting borough officials with defibrillators on behalf of the foundation that honors their son.

Sheila and James Fisher, right, presenting borough officials with defibrillators on behalf of the foundation that honors their son.


FEBRUARY 18, 2016


Waldwick — Two automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were donated to the public library and to the fire chief by the Sean Fisher Foundation at the Feb. 9 Borough Council meeting.

The Sean Fisher Foundation donated the two AEDs to the borough and in turn, Mayor Thomas Giordano and the Borough Council donated the life-saving devices to the Waldwick Public Library and to Fire Chief Andrew Agugliaro.

The Sean Fisher Foundation was created in tribute to Sean Fisher, who died from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during a football game on his 13th birthday, Aug. 25, 2008.

Fisher had had an undetected heart condition and his parents, James and Sheila, created the foundation to spread education and awareness, including annual heart screenings at Waldwick High School, to prevent the same thing from happening to other children and their families.

Both James and Sheila were in attendance and presented the AEDs to library director Lori-Ann Quinn and Agugliaro.

In his remarks, Giordano said that receiving the AEDs was a bit of serendipity mixed with a decent helping of luck.

“The Sean Fisher Foundation, Sheila and Jim, they were at a fundraiser,” recounted Giordano. “There’s another organization, the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation.”

The Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation was similarly founded after Louis J. Acompora died on March 25, 2000, from commotion cordis, a disruption of the heart’s rhythm caused by impact to the chest. The foundation has since dedicated itself to acquiring and distributing AEDs, as the device could have potentially saved Acompora’s life and will save countless others.

The Fishers met John and Karen Acompora at an event hosted by Parent Heart Watch, an organization composed of 49 similar groups of people whose children have died from sudden cardiac arrest.

The Acomporas told the Fishers, “If John and I win one, we’re going to donate them to the foundation,” according to James Fisher.

“Next thing you know, he [James Fisher] comes up on a Friday and says. ‘We have defibrillators to donate,’” said Giordano.

The defibrillators will now be in the public library and in the cab of Agugliaro’s vehicle for emergencies.

The annual heart screenings will take place throughout the day from March 7 to 11 in the Waldwick High School auditorium. Two children are screened at a time, each of them for approximately 25 minutes, and are provided with privacy curtains.

For more information, visit seanfishermemorialfoundation.org.


Source:  http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/clubs-and-service-organizations/donationsto-the-rescue-1.1513852

Waldwick students, staff trained to use defibrillators


Waldwick – One school trustee’s question about external life-saving equipment and related training got to the heart of the matter at the Feb. 8 Board of Education meeting.

A resolution to purchase batteries for automated external defibrillators raised concern by trustee Joseph Orlak, who wondered about whether staff and students are trained to use potential life-saving equipment such as AEDs and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation during an emergency.

Orlak asked about the status of training students on AETs and CPR when a consent agenda item allocating $981.95 for batteries for AEDs was raised. He asked whether students can opt to get a certificate to perform both AED and CPR. Orlak said he thought the certification only cost $5 and Superintendent Paul Casarico said they encourage students to get certified.

Casarico later said all students are trained on how to use an AED and CPR by graduation. He said “the majority” of staff are AED-certified.”

An AED is a portable, battery-operated electronic device that can diagnose life-threatening heart conditions such as arrhythmias and automatically treat them with defribillation, or electrical stimulation, to re-establish a normal heart rhythm.

In an email on Feb. 9, Casarico said that four AEDs are at the junior/senior high school and two each at Crescent and Traphagen elementary schools. The AEDs are “inside and outside of the buildings,” he said.

Orlak mentioned Sean Fisher in raising his concern about AEDs and CPR. Fisher was a 13-year-old Waldwick High School student who collapsed, and later died, while at football practice in 2008. Fisher suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a silent disease that causes thickening of heart muscle, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. In some cases, the heart may stop due to the condition, causing death.

His parents since founded a foundation that funds heart screenings for athletes and students at Waldwick High School annually. The screenings – free – began in 2010 and check for HCM and other heart conditions.

This year’s screenings will take place from March 7 to 11 in the high school auditorium.


Source:  http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/defibrillator-battery-purchase-sparks-query-on-training-1.1513844


Thank You

Dear Friends:

On behalf of the Sean Fisher Memorial Foundation Committee Members, we would like to sincerely thank everyone who sponsored and participated in the 7th Annual Sean Fisher Memorial Foundation golf outing.

Once again, we all had a lot of fun and in so doing, all of YOU helped to raise the necessary funds to support the work that this Foundation is committed to perform in Sean’s memory.

This past March 23 through the 26th, we held the 6th Annual Heart and Health Screening for Waldwick’s class of 2018. Due to your support and generosity, there are many Waldwick parents who are thankful for the dozens of teenagers whose lives are forever changed as a result of these screenings.

In closing, our wish is for you to have a great summer, fall, and hopefully not too cold of a winter and to see your cheery faces on the golf course in 2016.

From the bottom of our hearts,

Jim, Sheila and The  Sean Fisher Memorial Foundation Committee Members