History of the Anthony Bates Foundation
Anthony Bates was 20 years old when he died from undiagnosed Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, HCM. Anthony, an only child, was an honor student, an Eagle Scout, and a Division I college football player at Kansas State University. Anthony starting playing football when he was nine years old. He played other sports throughout his youth including baseball, soccer, wrestling, but football was his true love.
Each year he was required to have a "pre-participation sports physical." Heart examinations were not part of this annual process. Anthony's HCM might have been detected when he had an EKG in conjunction with surgery on his finger, but there no detection of his heart problem then either. Though EKGs are required in surgery, 10% of people with HCM have normal EKGs. Apparently, Anthony must have been in that 10%. Young, strong and a dedicated athlete, Anthony never complained of any symptoms. Sadly, his perfect health was an illusion.
Sharon Bates was a single parent for most of Anthony's life and their relationship was exceptionally close. In any case, the death of a child is a tragedy. The only thing making it more tragic is when it could be prevented through early detection. Within one year of Anthony's death from undiagnosed HCM, Sharon began volunteering with the HCMA, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. Working tirelessly alongside Lisa Salberg, president and founder, Sharon learned a great deal about HCM and the dangers of this hidden heart ailment in young people. Anthony's mom believes the work of all the passionate grassroots programs worldwide will spare thousands of parents the pain that she suffered so needlessly.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
HCM is a genetic heart disease that attacks the heart muscle, typically during the teenage years. The only way to detect HCM is through an echocardiogram (sonogram image) of the heart. With early detection, a person can have a normal and productive life. In Anthony's case, there was no detection.
There were no known cases of HCM or sudden death in Anthony's family on either side of the family tree. His death came as a shock to everyone, including his two great-grandmothers and great-grandfather still living at the time of his death. Since Anthony's death, his family has decided to go through a testing regimen of echocardiograms which is recommended by the HCMA. When HCM is present in a family, echocardiogram screening should be done every year for the adolescents and every five years for the young adults. Still years later, there is still no sign of HCM in any of Anthony's extended family. Anthony's doctors have theorized that in his case, the HCM gene may have spontaneously mutated.
Anthony Bates Foundation - the beginning
Since Anthony's death, Sharon began promoting heart health and education through the HCMA with fundraisers and events. She held golf tournaments, solicited donations from various organizations, and found other creative ways to raise funds. By 2002, the need to launch a foundation in her son's name was necessary in our country. Hence, the birth of the Anthony Bates Foundation and the cardiac screening programs nationwide.
After learning how to successfully produce a community heart screening event, Sharon has demonstrated heart health through the FREE Cardiac Screening Events in communities of Kansas, Arizona, Nevada, California, Washington, Colorado, and New York. The target has been students, athletes, and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24 years old. As of the October 2016, Sharon completed seventy-four (74) heart screening events (echocardiogram and ECG testing) and provided over 13,000 echocardiogram and ECG tests for young people. The most recent, April 8, 2017, at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ.
ABF has captured interesting data from their heart screenings. While proving the importance of heart exams prior to athletic activity, the ABF's results have also proven that children do have hidden heart issues. Over 10% of the people screened have an abnormal result which requires further cardiac testing. Cardiologists and research doctors in the HCM field have claimed for years that 1 in 250 people of the general population have or will develop HCM. This statistic translates to only .01% of the general population. The data at ABF is showing a much larger and more alarming number greater than 1 in 250.
The Anthony Bates Foundation is making a difference with screenings in the communities across the country. The first screening took place in Manhattan, Kansas where Anthony attended college and the second screening was in Phoenix where Anthony graduated from high school. The community involvement has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the success of each event. Parent and student volunteers, as well as volunteer doctors, nurses, nursing students and echocardiogram technicians assist with every screening. When education and awareness are provided to communities, people want heart screenings, they want to know their child's heart health in advance. With education there is power, with power comes life.
Heart Screenings for everyone!
Community screenings are a necessity for every community that has student athletes and access to medical professionals. The costs of putting together a FREE and Low Cost Cardiac Screening vary depending on the size of the event. The smaller the event, the costlier the ratio per "participant." For an event as large as 1,000 student athletes/young adults the cost could be as low as $25 - 50 per person. When the event is half the size, 500 student athletes/young adults or below, the costs jump to a range of $50-$100 per person.
The efforts of the Anthony Bates Foundation can be multiplied by the involvement of communities nationwide. An ABF Community Screening Training Program is available on the website for compassionate people willing to sacrifice some time to save young lives from undetected heart ailments. Sharon Bates is offering her consulting and training services to help assist communities nationally. She will speak to groups about the impact of such events and provide a great resource to make your efforts successful – young lives will be saved! Visit the website and contact ABF for more information.
Endorsements at the college level
The ABF program is endorsed by former Head Football Coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State University. ABF continues to receive donations from KSU for the heart screening efforts in Manhattan, Kansas. The university administrators, staff, trainers, and weight room personnel have terrific participants in our mission. We receive their support and involvement in creating a better communication line from K-State to high school football coaches regarding heart health and the silent warning signs (lightheadedness, shortness of breath, blackouts, and/or chest pains). But that is just one university in one state. Just think how many lives we could save if we had more resources and more NCAA colleges were screening their athletes.
At KSU there are AEDs available in the football complex. The trainers carry the units to the practices, too. There are some units available in various locations throughout the campus. Plus, the campus police/security carry AED units in their vehicles.
Endorsements at the high school level
Our first Phoenix heart screening event was in May, 2002, at Mountain Pointe High School. Just a year before, one of Anthony's beloved football coaches, Mark Lovett, died from a heart attack on their football field. Since then AEDs have been brought to MPHS. These are the first AED units in schools in the Phoenix area. A lot more work remains to be done to protect our students and the public from SCA (sudden cardiac arrest) in public places. We are also heading up an area of AED donations within our organization. If you would like AED training, CPR training, and/or an AED program in your school, you are welcome to contact us for assistance and guidance in these areas.
Parent Heart Watch
In 2005, a new grassroots program was formed. Out of the pain of loss rises another strong group dedicated to saving lives and making a difference for young people everywhere. Parent Heart Watch (PHW) is a state-by-state network of parents dedicated to reducing the often disastrous effects of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in children. PHW is an organization founded by parents who have either lost a child to SCA or whose child is to have a known risk for SCA. PHW grew from the friendship of Rachel Moyer, PA, Linette Derminer, OH, Sharon Bates, AZ, and Laura Friend, TX, all who lost their children to sudden cardiac arrest resulting from undiagnosed heart problems. The members of PHW advocate for awareness and change - all with the goal of protecting children from SCA. For more information on Parent Heart Watch, visit www.parentheartwatch.org. The movement continues to grow into an International effort of parents and friends in countries as far reaching as Canada, France, Italy, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and beyond.
Help our Cause!
The Anthony Bates Foundation is making a difference in the lives of young people across our wonderful country and the corners of the globe. We can all make a bigger impact by becoming partners to save the lives of our young people. Help us make that difference. Contact us today!
Anthony Bates Foundation
111 E. Dunlap, Ste. 1-291
Phoenix, AZ 85020