Raecene Shoaff

Arista,

This year I attended your 16th Annual Chad Volleyball Tournament in Hermosa Beach. I brought my daughter, other family members and dear friends who had a fifteen year old son who suffered a massive stroke last year because of two undetected holes in his heart that allowed a clot from a basketball injury to get through and cause the stroke. I choose to attend the fundraiser because my dear friend Beverly Tombolesi has expressed every year how much she believes in it and has asked me to attend every year. I have always found a reason not to go, but thought this year it would be nice to support the cause as well as my friend.

You can imagine my surprise when Dr. Lewis pulled me aside to tell me that they had detected something wrong with my daughter’s heart (she is twelve years old and a Water Polo player). I remember that I was so caught off guard that when he was trying to explain to me what was found I just stared at him and at the end just smiled and said, “Ok, great – thank you.” In the last couple of years our son (now sixteen and at the time was a baseball player) we had detected a bump in his leg and after many tests and a couple of surgeries found he had a bone tumor. So I hadn’t yet recovered from that and now my other child needed to have additional tests. We acted immediately on the findings and went to see our pediatrician. Once he found out she was a Water Polo player and did a basic examination he tried to assure us that she was very healthy and especially considering the sport she played. He said he couldn’t hear anything in her heart that would support the findings and that if the doctor had felt it was serious he would have demanded we take her in immediately. Because we had experience with doctors and their attitude towards healthy athletes with what we went through with my son, I got a little demanding with the pediatrician. I immediately informed him that I did not want to hear his diagnosis based on the appearance of my daughter looking healthy or based on the fact she plays one of the most physically demanding sports. I explained to him that every time he told me she appeared healthy and backed it up by the sport she played it only told me that he wasn’t going to look as hard for something because he didn’t believe he would find anything. That her appearance of being healthy didn’t justify looking deeper for something that might be there. Her doctor immediately changed his tone when he found out who the doctor was that had discovered the defect. Apparently, her pediatrician studied under him. Her doctor referred us to a pediatric cardiologists to have the tests redone. He stated that it most likely is nothing but it won’t hurt to have it checked. He then followed up by stating if it was something we should consider ourselves the luckiest people.

It took us about two weeks to see the specialist. He conducted the Echo and EKG again. Then it was time to give us the results. He confirmed Dr. Lewis’ findings at the fundraiser. My daughter has Aortic Regurgitation with Stenosis. He informed us that she was definitely born with this. He explained that the aortic valve has Chad Heart Screenings - Testimonials a weak leaflet that is not doing its job opening and closing all the way. It forces the other leaflets to work harder. Because they are working harder one of the leaflets has already developed thickness. The doctor explained that my daughter will have to be very aware of her condition the rest of her life. He said as long as she remains healthy they will not have to do anything to correct it until she is around fifty, but it will definitely be something that she will have to have repaired at some point when she is much older. However, we are on watch for the next seven years. The doctor did say that there is only one thing that can change her condition right now and force them to have to replace the valve and that is her growth. So for now her treatment is to have annual tests done until she is about twenty. Once she is twenty if she is healthy and nothing has changed the doctor said she may only have to be monitored every two years going forward. The good news is that she doesn’t have to give up Water Polo. We asked if playing sports would change any results or progress the outcome of having to correct the problem sooner. He said no, that right now the only thing that can change her condition towards the worse is her growth, so we just wait. The doctor also made a comment about the diagnosis. He said that the chances of this ever being caught by a general practitioner or pediatrician was probably zero. He said they are not trained to listen for this or to look for it. It is something usually seen more often if fifty year olds.

I cannot tell you how thankful I am for The Chad Foundation and for my friend Beverly extending the invitation for me to go even after not going years before. The Chad Foundation will be something my family and our family business support going forward. We are talking about getting our workers to do a volleyball team for next year’s fundraiser. I now have both my children on annual review for two of what I consider the scariest things (cancer and heart disease). But in the end I am glad that we have been so blessed to be aware and only have to be observed and not have to actually fight the battle. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my daughter and my family from the unknown. You are an Angel. I am sorry your loss had to be our miracle. I want you to know that Chad will never be forgotten in this family. In the words of our pediatrician, I do consider us the luckiest people for meeting you and being part of The Chad Foundation. Thank you.

Raecene Shoaff
Executive Vice President
Checkpoint Communications, Inc.
2168 Michelson Irvine, CA. 92612
(949) 724-9960
rshoaff@checkpointcomm.com

Troy Wirth

“I have been meaning to write and thank you for all the spectacular work The Chad Foundation has been doing across the country. I am especially appreciative because I am one of the lives you might have saved. Due to your echocardiogram screening at the Chad Foundation Malibu Benefit for Childrens Hospital, Doctors detected an arrhythmia and advised immediate follow-up which I did and ended up having surgery in October, with a diagnosis of Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome. All my life I suffered with this undiagnosed physical challenge and played Class 1 volleyball at USC and never could play to my optimum. Now, I am playing sports better than ever thanks to your fortuitous screening event. I would be honoured to be a spokesperson for your cause, of which I am living proof!”

Troy Wirth
Vice President
Metropolitan Life
San Jose, CA

Others

* “The Division of Cardiology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has collaborated with the Chad Foundation
to perform echocardiographic screening of young athletes the past 13 yrs. Most recently, JAMA found
that 75% of hypertensive children were underdiagnosed and estimated that upwards of 1.5 million children
were at risk. Familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited disorder present in 1:500 is a major risk factor for
coronary disease. Thus, expanded screening programs such as The Chad Foundation can have a significant
impact on detecting important cardiovascular risk factores in otherwise healthy young people.”

Alan B. Lewis, M.D. (Div. Cardiology)
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Professor of Pediatrics, USC

* “My association with with Arista and the Chad Foundation has been outstanding, their honest, no-nonsense
approach to education and screening of young people in sports;
promote healthy heart living and inform the public. Collective data from their screening resources may
yield a further understanding of heart related illnesses in the young and causes of sudden death. The people
associated with the program are of the highest quality. For these reasons I give my unreserved support.”

Jim Gosset, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
Columbia University in the City of New York

* “Early screening and preventive care are vitally important in the fight against cardiovascular diseases, and
today’s screening event at Columbia University will help promote cardiac health for people of all ages. I
applaud The Chad Foundation for Athletes and Artists for turning the personal tragedy of Chad’s death into
a loving cause of action for others.”

Rudolph W. Giuliani
Mayor of New York City

* “I wanted to congratulate the NCSI and The Chad Foundation as you embark on your initiative to screen
hundreds of athletes in the Holyoke, MA community for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The screening
will help your database, which in turn will benefit youth at risk for cardiac death. We thank you for this
important endeavor.”

John F. Kerry
United States Senate

* “On behalf of the INSP, International Streetnewspapers, and the 26 teams of homeless athletes who
participated in the “1st and 2nd Homeless Streetsoccer World Cup,” we thank you and The Chad Foundation
for Athletes and Artists for providing this livesaving test for our the impoverished athletes of the world.
Your heart screening event has become a necessary part of the World Cup and we look forward to The
Chad’s particpation in forthcoming events.”

Bernhard Wolf, Managing Director,
Homeless Streetsoccer World Cup
Graz, Austria

* “Due to your echocardiogram screening at the Chad Foundation Malibu Benefit for Childrens Hospital,
Doctors detected an arrhythmia and advised immediate follow-up which I did and ended up having
surgery in October, with a diagnosis of Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome. All my life I suffered with this
undiagnosed physical challenge and played Class 1 volleyball at USC and never could play to my optimum.
Now, I am playing sports better than ever thanks to your fortuitous screening event. I would be honoured to
be a spokesperson for your cause, of which I am living proof!”

Troy Wirth, VP, Metropolitan Live, San Jose, CA