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Parents urged to get their kids' hearts screened

Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 08:44:05-04

There is new information about the death of a Sebastian River High School student-athlete. Kamaree Lyons collapsed this past weekendwhile walking off the basketball court following a pickup game. 

The Indian River County Medical Examiner's office said initial autopsy results showed the teenage has some abnormalities in his heart. More tests need to be completed and the case is still pending. 

The tragedy has mothers, who've been directly impacted by heart issues in their children, warning other parents to get their kids screened. 

"She has something bad in her heart that had to be operated on immediately, and that's actually what said her life," said Adriana Benitez, whose daughter had an unknown heart condition. "I didn't know. Nobody knew."

Nearly two years ago, Benitez took her teenage daughter to a free heart screening hosted by the Jessica Clinton MVP foundation. It was a coincidence, as she found out about the event through her other daughter's teacher. By all accounts, her daughter was a healthy student-dancer. Turns out she needed open heart surgery. 

"When the doctor found out she was dancing every day for five hours a day, he said, 'no, she has to stop right now," said Benitez.

Her life was saved by another mother's action.  Nearly 15 years ago, Cheryl Lalloo lost her daughter, Jessica, a cheerleader. She's started a foundation in her memory.

"She was practicing for the homecoming game, and they took a break  She went into sudden cardiac arrest and passed away right at school," said Lalloo. "There was no AED at the school."

She now fights for AEDs in all schools, parks and public places. 

"Once we found out a small machine saved her, we knew what we had to do," she said. 

Benitez credits the free screening with saving her daughter's life. 

"It was a blessing," said Benitez. "They saved our life and her life too."

The Jessica Clinton MVP Foundation will have another free heart screening at the St. Lucie County Health Department on Nov. 3. To find out more information on registration, for kids aged 5 to 20, can go to