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Laguna Beach

Heartfelt’s cardiac screening saves young lives: offered on Mon Aug 28 during Breaker Day at LBHS

Laguna Beach-based nonprofit Heartfelt will be offering cardiac screening at the high school during the school’s Breakers Day on Monday Aug 28 – because heart disease, if detected early, does not have to lead to death, emphasizes founder of Heartfelt, Holly Morrell. 

Screenings will be offered in the North Gym between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. for anyone ages five and up.

Morrell says that knowing the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest is a vital factor in prevention.

“Until people understand this, they will fail to realize that their seemingly healthy, active, young loved ones can be at risk,” she says. “The media often shares the tragic story of a young athlete dying on the playing field (it happens every three days in this country) yet often fail to inform the public that it was most likely a preventable tragedy.” 

Morrell adds. “You can live a full and happy life with heart disease, you just need to know you have it.” 

 Six of Morrell’s family members, including her father, died as a result of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and several others – including Morrell herself – have been diagnosed with the condition. 

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Submitted photo

Never too early to screen for heart disease, Holly Morrell says

“Laguna Beach High School recently experienced a miracle of a young student/athlete surviving full cardiac arrest while in his Spanish Class.  I am sure his family had no idea he could be at risk. He lived … thousands don’t,” Morrell adds. “I hope my Laguna Beach community will take advantage of my Heartfelt cardiac screening and protect their loved ones.” 

The difference between sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack

The American Heart Association explains it this way: Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Cardiac arrest is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.

Seconds later, a person becomes unresponsive, is not breathing or is only gasping. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. 

On the other hand, heart attacks do not necessarily lead to cardiac arrest, AHA says. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked: a heart attack is a circulation problem. A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die.

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Photo by Lynette

Police and ambulance respond when a student suffered a full cardiac arrest

Morrell notes, “SCA is the #1 Killer in the US.  It is also the #1 killer of women in this country and a young athlete dies from SCA every three days in the US. Early detection saves lives but is not generally offered for the public and/or not typically covered by insurance.

“HCP has saved and protected hundreds of lives throughout Orange County and wishes to help keep our own community from losing loved ones to what can often be a preventable tragedy. Protect your loved ones and schedule your family today.”

The event is open to the public, ages five and up. Participants will receive $1,500 worth of comprehensive cardiac evaluation, including an Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) and Echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound), for a donation of $85.

Register and schedule appointments online at

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