Young Hearts for Life to provide free EKG screenings for all West students

Information about the ECG Screenings have been hung on students lockers around school. Make sure to register in advance at

On November 29, 2018 Young Hearts for Life (YH4L) is offering a free Electrocardiogram (ECG) screening for all students. Screening will occur during the school day at Biester Gym.  All students can participate in the screening with parent permission.

An electrocardiogram can be abbreviated as an ECG or an EKG. This test records the activity of your heart at rest and provides information about your heart rate and electrical activity. 

Screening is very simple. Students are tested in separate areas by gender. A transgender area is also available. Stickies or electrodes are placed in certain places on your body. Next the machine is attached to the stickies, which will read your results. The results can be generate in as little as 30 seconds. Physicians on site will then read the results.  A formal clinical diagnosis will not be made, however parents will be contacted if their child may need an additional follow up with their family physician. 

There will always be a medical professional on staff along with the volunteers. One of the possible physicians on staff is Dr. Joseph Marek, the founder of the organization, clinical cardiologist, the the head medical director of YH4L, and Senior Medical Director of Cardiopulmonary Service with Advocate Medical Group.

Megan Murphy who is Co-Vice President of the YH4L junior board and a Glenbard West Student explains that the organization “provides free ECGs which are electrocardiograms to high school students in the area […] and they also work to educate people about sudden cardiac death.”

Additionally, Murphy explained that the organizations screenings “detect for about 90% of the heart conditions that can cause sudden cardiac death in teens.”  Additionally the organization “meets with schools and they also [help] make action plans” for students who may experience cardiac arrest during the school day. 

YH4L has been around for 11 years and has screened over 200,000 students. They also have trained over 16,000 community volunteers to help with screening.  

Kay Hendricks, a former board member’s wife, claims that YH4L is “the largest screening program in the United States, [and] is well known for its unique way of using trained community volunteers and deliver low-cost high-quality screening to high school students and it offers free electrocardiograms [that] detect conditions which could lead to sudden cardiac death.”

Mrs. Hendricks also explained YH4L’s mission statement which includes “offer[ing] free electrocardiograms to all students not just athletes [to] detect conditions which may cause sudden cardiac death.  [YH4L’s mission] is also to educate the community about sudden cardiac death, how it can be prevented, and to help school’s prepare an emergency action plan to effectively manage cardiac emergencies.”  YH4L’s mission also includes providing support to families who have lost a child. 

Both Mrs. Hendricks and Murphy got involved with YH4L through Robert Hendricks who sadly passed in 2016. Mr. Hendricks was on the YH4L advisory board and now has an education program in his name. The Robert Hendricks Education Program honors his devotion to the organization and has the goal to raise awareness of sudden cardiac death through education of public and medical professionals. His wife, Mrs. Hendricks, claims that he was thrilled to join the cause because “if you know they could save one life, that it was worth it.”

YH4L has a board of directors who help get the organization with funding and arrange events. This board is very well educated in terms of medical and school knowledge. Multiple of the members are part of a school district board or have medical degrees.

In addition, there is also a junior board which was created four years ago as a way for local teens to get involved in the organization. The junior board has done many activities around the community to raise money for the organization. Last April, they organized a 5k in order to raise funds for screening and raise awareness about sudden death in teens.

This year the junior board has set up a competition among the schools getting screened. The school that has the highest participation in screening will win a free AED for their school.

Signing up is encouraged. It is quick and easy and the more people that sign up the better the chances are that Glenbard West wins the competitions end get the free AED.

You can register here:

You will need parent consent prior to the event. For more information about Young Hearts for Life go to

If you are a parent and want to volunteer at the event, please sign up here: