My mom told me, motherhood is not for sissies. She meant this humorously, trotting it out when the laundry was sky-high or my kids were getting shots or poor grades but, nothing could ring truer if you’re a mother of a child who has died. Whether your loss occurred pre-term or during childhood or even adulthood, there’s an unwritten rule that kids should not die before their parents. Trust me, that kind of loss leaves a mark.

Some of us reflect bucolically on how we made it through our childhoods without seatbelts, fluoride, and incessant supervision, forgetting that polio, scarlet fever, and even childhood leukemia claimed many lives in our youth. Thanks to medical advances these conditions are not the threat they once were.

I’m disappointed with the medical professionals who have failed to advance the use of EKG screening to detect hidden and potentially fatal heart conditions in asymptomatic kids and young adults.

I learned the value of EKG testing after my 20-year-old son died suddenly and unexpectedly from a hidden heart condition. In Max’s name we have provided over 75,000 EKGs to area young adults and discovered hundreds with potentially fatal heart conditions which could be corrected.

These mothers get to celebrate Mother’s Day with their child.

While 75,000 EKGs is a lot, it’s nothing compared to the number who would be screened if EKG screening became a standard of care for every child in the USA. When will we see EKG screening become part of a physical, like vaccines? Lives are lost while the medical community debates the pros and cons. Summer physicals are right around the corner. Suggest to your MD that your child get an EKG.

Motherhood isn’t for sissies. Mothers, it’s up to us. Let’s get noisy. Talk with your doctors. Talk to your lawmakers. Our kids’ lives are at stake.

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