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April 6, 2017 • Headline News
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1000 hearts screened
Giving Hearts a Hand to save lives

Sandy Day Howard

“I want to thank you for taking your personal event and creating an organization that helps increase awareness on this problem. I’m not sure if my son would be here if it wasn’t for people like you and all the other organizations. I guess my next step is to see how I can make a difference now.” A GRATEFUL PARENT

Local philanthropists Doug and Cortney Meyer of Batesville couldn’t have foreseen the magnitude of the impact they would make six years ago when they began forming an organization to screen young athletes for heart defects. After collaborating with central and Southeastern Indiana health care providers, Giving Hearts A Hand, (GHH), a non-profit organization, was formed in 2012 and last month performed their 1000th cardiac screening. Ben Springer of Center Grove High School in Greenwood is an 8th grade basketball and baseball player and was examined via EKG and Echocardiogram, creating the milestone for GHH.

Pictured left, Doug Meyer, founder of the Giving Hearts a Hand non-profit organization, stands with Ben Springer, 8th grader at Center Grove High School, the recipient of the 1000th heart scan. The organization was formed in 2011 by Meyer and wife, Cortney, after hearing stories of several young athletes passing away and also a personal story of Doug’s.

Giving Hearts a Hand “promotes heart awareness in area communities through funding cardiac screenings in high school athletes.” In addition to partnering with medical providers and specific high schools to host the scans, GHH has also hosted screenings at neutral locations for student athletes. Meyer says GHH is continually evolving due to medical facility changes, school/hospital affiliations, etc. Since its inception, Giving Hearts a Hand has offered the tests at no charge.

Giving Hearts a Hand was created in May of 2011 by the couple after hearing stories of several young athletes passing away while participating in the sport(s) they loved. In particular that spring, the pair learned of Wes Leonard, the Fennville, MI basketball player who hit the game winning basket for his high school team, and collapsed (and died) seconds later due to an undetected heart condition. The couple, both of whom had participated in sports in their younger years, were touched and saddened by the tragedy.

The story especially struck a chord with Doug, who was diagnosed in the 90’s as a high school sophomore with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after Dr. Robert Mulford noticed an abnormally high blood pressure reading during Doug’s sports physical. Meyer says he knows that he was extremely fortunate for that “freak” high blood pressure reading and for Mulford’s quick action in ordering further tests. The pair explained that Giving Hearts a Hand’s goal is simply to help educate and promote awareness so that if a condition is found or a potentially tragic situation occurs, people know how to act/react to help save a life. The couple, who also work full time jobs and are the parents of two, donate between 15 and 30 hours a week to furthering this cause.

Since its inception, GHH funded testing has detected dozens of abnormal screenings showing heart muscle imperfections, electrical conditions, and a number of valve issues. Central Indiana high school soccer player Garrett Wade had surgery at Riley Children’s Hospital to repair a hole in his septum that was discovered after undergoing the routine scan. Had the 3 centimeter hole gone undetected, Garrett was at risk of succumbing to heart failure by the age of 40. The imperfection may have gone undiagnosed, possibly ending in tragedy, had it not been for the generosity of Giving Hearts a Hand.

A parent who was working on a college research paper was present to observe the scans GHH hosted at Jac Cen Del a few years ago. As the mother of a high school athlete, what she learned about heart conditions in young athletes (and observed that day) stuck with her. Months later, Doug received a letter from that mom, telling about her own family’s brush with disaster. Her son, a young soccer player had collapsed after the final whistle of his team’s soccer game. Her husband ran to the field, started CPR (which he had refreshed himself on after his wife’s discussion of what she had learned at the JCD screens and from her assignment), and thanks to the help of other managers and adults, was able to connect an AED until emergency services arrived. The boy was successfully resuscitated and ultimately had to have an internal defibrillator installed on his heart. The following is a quote from that grateful parent’s letter to Meyer: “I want to thank you for taking your personal event and creating an organization that helps increase awareness on this problem.  I’m not sure if my son would be here if it wasn’t for people like you and all the other organizations.  I guess my next step is to see how I can make a difference now.”

As for the Meyer’s aspirations for the future of Giving Hearts a Hand, Doug says he wants to continue offering the free cardiac screenings in the areas they have been fortunate enough to serve while also expanding their reach geographically. As it is, the couple aspires to increase awareness through a variety of avenues while working together with medical facilities and the directions they want to take. Doug and Cortney are particularly proud that the organization has been able to provide AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) to three different schools last spring. South Ripley and Batesville were among the schools receiving the life saving donation.

“Even if a kid goes to a school that we do not work directly with, we can still offer them a free screening via certificate that can be used at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin,” Meyer explained. The organization will be hosting a fundraiser, “Fore-Hearts Golf Outing and Silent Auction” on June 17th at Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in Batesville. The silent auction will begin at the close of the golf event and go through the following weekend online.  Any individuals or groups wishing to donate items for the auction are asked to contact the Meyer’s.

“We appreciate any and all support from sponsors, donors and participants in the event.” Cortney added. More information can be obtained through Giving Hearts a Hand’s website,, or on GHH’s Facebook page. The organization’s phone number is 317-502-5652.

Cumberworth receives State Academic Scholarship

Scholarship Chair Phyllis Armbrecht, of Versailles – Osgood’s Delta Rho chapter of Tri Kappa is proud to announce that Emily A. Cumberworth, Holton, has been selected to receive a State Academic Scholarship. Cumberworth was co-valedictorian of South Ripley’s class of 2014.

Emily CumberworthSUBMITTED PHOTO
Pictured left is Emily Cumberworth.

She is currently a junior at University of Indianapolis majoring in biology/chemistry intending to pursue a medical doctorate degree. She is the daughter of Jeff and Caroline Cumberworth.

Twelve $1,000 academic scholarships were awarded throughout the state. Students who applied are currently enrolled in a baccalaureate or graduate program, having completed at least one academic year. Criteria used by the Tri Kappa selection committee are academic achievement, strong goals, extracurricular activities, work experience, and volunteer service.

In addition to the State scholarships, the Delta Rho Chapter also provides local scholarships to graduating seniors from both Jac-Cen-Del and South Ripley High Schools. A total of seven scholarships are awarded along with monetary recognition of the valedictorians. Applications were available through the school guidance offices. This year’s scholarships will be presented at each school’s academic awards program. Funding for these scholarships is made possible through the generosity of the community by supporting Tri Kappa events such as the golf outing and Winter Wonderland bazaar, as well as pecan and flower sales. Tri Kappa has provided scholarship awards since 1914 acknowledging students on the local, province and State levels. Chapters, provinces and the State organization combined, currently give nearly $500,000.00 annually honoring academic achievement.

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