Seven years ago, Crosby student Cody Stephens died unexpectedly from a heart condition. He was at home, resting, and never woke up. After recovering from the shock of losing their strong athletic son, his parents Scott and Melanie decided they would work to keep this from happening to other families.
Their action took two directions. One was to start a foundation to pay for any student who wanted a heart screen to be able to get one, and the other action was to take their campaign for student athletes to receive heart screening to the Texas Legislature.
Scott knew that the problem was widespread, and needed the attention and support of school administrators and state legislators throughout the state. But since 2012, he has had a bill before the legislature three times, and it was only this year that he got it passed. He credits Dan Huberty and Carol Alvarado with aid in getting it passed.
He related to the Highlands Rotary Club the saga of his attempts, last week at a member’s luncheon. At first their was opposition to the bill by school districts and medical professionals, saying it was not necessary or too expensive.
His approach has been to have the foundation pay for all screening in a district the first year.
Since the Cody Stephens Foundation was founded in 2013, they have seen 132,000 students screened. 1.68% of these had a heart problem, and 1 of 900 had problems so severe they had to have intervention medically. Scott points out that some of these would have resulted in death, similar to his son Cody.
Every year the Foundation holds a fundraiser in August, and it is usually sold out. Previously they have raised over $1,500,000 in 7 years, which pay for screening. This year the event will be held Aug. 17th at the Southern Lakes Estates in Crosby, and tickets and donations are available from Scott’s office.
So far, he has been able to get 300 of the 1080 Texas school districts to join the program, and his goal is to have all districts signed up eventually, and perhaps carry the life-saving program to other states.