OUR FOUNDER & SURVIVOR

SPENCER BEST

On September 9, 2012, Spencer Best, an otherwise healthy 16 year old, went to a basketball workout in his high school gym. 30 minutes later, he collapsed…his heart stopped working. 


His coach and two nearby adults began the "chain of survival" by calling 911 and starting CPR. An AED delivered a shock to Spencer's heart & revived him approximately 8 minutes later.  Spencer was rushed by Life Flight to a nearby hospital where he received a medically implanted defibrillator in his chest that monitors his heart and will provide a life-saving shock if needed. He returned home 5 days a later.  Because of the actions of adult bystanders, his coach, and medical first responders, Spencer was able to survive his Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), and have another chance at life. 


As a result, Spencer’s HeartStrong Foundation was formed.

His newly discovered foundation and purpose is to help awareness, education, and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest in youth.

STORIES FROM THE HEART

Quinn Driscoll

At age 13 (and 347 days) Quinn was approaching one of life’s milestones…transition into high school. With only a handful of days left in his final year of middle school, Quinn had nothing but a bright future ahead of him.

 

A football, baseball, and basketball athlete, Quinn was running the track in PE class on a cold rainy June day in 2009. As he and his friends came to the last turn, Quinn encouraged his buddies to “feel the burn”. A few steps into his sprint to the finish, his heart stopped beating. 


Quinn died from an undiagnosed heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM.

Quinn’s legacy has focused a community and the origin of the Quinn Driscoll Foundation. Quinn’s family, friends and volunteers are dedicated to the awareness, education and testing to combat diseases of the heart which lead to sudden cardiac arrest in our children. From tragedy comes hope. 


Beat On!

Tyler Alexander

Tyler always enjoyed playing sports. But he never felt quite well enough to keep up, or go the extra distance in athletics. Since he was 7 years old, he can remember having fluttering in his heart when he was playing sports or during activity.  


In February 2014, Tyler and his family visited Spencer’s HeartStrong Foundation Teen Heart Screen. During Tyler’s screening, it was discovered he had a condition called WPW, which causes the heart to beat faster due to an extra electrical pathway to the hearts lower chamber. The condition can be fatal.


Just one month later, Tyler underwent a surgery to cauterize the tissue, which triggers the electrical signals and faster heartbeats. Two weeks following his surgery, Tyler was back playing basketball and feeling better than ever. 


“Spencer’s tragedy turned into our family not having that tragedy. Spencer was saved, and Spencer saved Tyler.” - Cindy Alexander

Nick Varrenti

Nick was a football player to the core. He loved playing the game and was a successful varsity player at Jackson High School. Nick was a true team player, wearing the #58, and showed his unity by wearing blue team socks everyday. 

Nick was a typical teenager who loved to joke, eat his Mom’s home cooking, and could light up a room with his megawatt smile.


On Labor Day 2004, Nick suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. “Nicky” died from a heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM.


The Nick of Time Foundation was founded in Nick’s honor and keeps his name alive. We may have lost Nick to Sudden Cardiac Arrest but we vow to make his death count and are committed to keeping others with hidden cardiac problems alive.

Chai Baker

Chai Baker, a top national basketball recruit, was working through preseason drills on August 19, 2014.  The Oregon State Basketball future star collapsed suddenly on the court.  An OSU team trainer immediately performed CPR and used an AED to restart his heart.  


After being rushed to the hospital, Chai spent 5 days working to recover and to determine the cause of his sudden cardiac arrest.   


Before his SCA, Chai was slated to join the OSU backcourt after powering Florida's Malone High School to a state title, where Chai scored a career high 44 points in the championship game.  

While Chai's diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) has sidelined his playing career, he has turned his life-changing diagnosis into an opportunity to support others.  Chai is a strong advocate in his Florida community, and is currently working with the national organization Who We Play For, to raise funds for youth heart screenings to be held in Florida.

Heidi Stewart

On February 12, 2013, Heidi Stewart collapsed in the hallway at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, WA.  Quick-acting staff members started CPR and administered three shocks from an automated external defibrillator.  Heidi was clinically dead for eight minutes. The AED used to save her life was donated by the Quinn Driscoll Foundation.


In high school, Heidi was a four-year varsity swimmer. She was also the captain of her swim team. Now, cardiovascular exercise is largely off the table. due to a diagnosis of a rare heart condition, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD). The condition occurs if muscle tissue in the right ventricle dies and is replaced with scar tissue, which disrupts the heart’s electrical signals and causes arrhythmias


Heidi has turned her tragedy into triumph by working tirelessly to educate organizations on heart health.  Heidi was recently named a national spokeswoman for the American Heart Association’s "Go Red Real Women"  campaign aimed at educating women about the No. 1 killer of women: heart disease.