ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — About 600 families in St Lucie County registered for free heart screenings for their children on Saturday.
"A lot of children are here and they are amazing," said mother of three Natalie Jordan-Nixon. "They know exactly what they're doing and they're very informative in explaining things."
The free event took place at the Larry J Lee Public Health building for 5-20-year-olds.
"It can be very expensive when it's coming to anything that's a specialty, so the fact we were able to get these services free of charge is a blessing," said Jordan-Nixon. "Everything was very very efficient and smooth from the time I walked into checkout so I want to say thank you to everyone."
The event was one stop shop complete with an exam by a physician, an EKG, and an echocardiogram.
It was all made possible thanks to the Jessica Clinton MVP Foundation which honors a young cheerleader that passed away in 2003 due to an undiagnosed heart condition.
"A lot of these kids are asymptomatic when they have an issue and typically, they don't get screened for heart conditions when they go in for a physical cause they're so young," said Ray Lalloo, Jessica's father and co-founder of the foundation
Organizers said this is the event's 15th year but it is the first year they have been able to host the event since the pandemic.
"Jessica was always a real go-getter and wanted to do so much, so much. So we feel that this is what she would expect us to do" said Cheryl Lallo, Jessica's mother and co-founder of the foundation.
The duo said people are paying it forward by volunteering, like Adriana Benitez whose daughter was detected to have heart disease during the event in 2016 and had open heart surgery.
"We could have lost her, and if we wouldn't come over here we wouldn't find out she has that in her heart," said Benitez. "Everybody should be able to bring their kids and save their lives."