March Blog By: Cole Silverman
Memories and Motivation from a Friend
HOW MATTHEW SHAPED MY LIFE
Over two years ago, the unimaginable took place. The LeMoynes lost a loving son and brother, the world lost the most kindhearted kid I know, and I lost a best friend who led through example in all aspects of his life. Matthew meant everything to me and my friends and losing him was detrimental in our lives. It was heartbreaking and hard to overcome.
Matthew and I became close friends almost immediately after meeting in middle school. He was the first person I talked to in my first ever 6th grade class where he immediately complimented me on my KD’s which were the shoes of his favorite player. I was drawn to his kindness and sense of humor that I would only grow closer to and love more and more over the years. Matthew and I soon discovered our passion to fish together which formed the basis of our friendship. Over the next couple of years I got to experience “Summer Matt,” where Matthew would break out of his shell and almost immediately became the funniest kid I knew. We spent hours fishing at any body of water we could get our lures into and we made countless memories at the LeMoynes pool and basketball hoop and also playing lacrosse. I will always miss these carefree days creating memories with Matthew that I will never forget and I will mourn the memories we never got to make. Until I see Matthew again in Heaven, I will always think back to the love and fun times he showed me. He set an example at such a young age that I will continue to follow for the rest of my life. I appreciate everything Matthew did for me and know he is living his best life fishing up in heaven.
WHAT IS LONG QT SYNDROME?
When I discovered the news that Matthew had passed away from LQTS or Long QT Syndrome I was shocked and clueless. I had never heard of this syndrome and I wondered why it had taken such an amazing life so suddenly and unexpectedly. I found out Long QT Syndrome is “a disorder of the heart's electrical activity. It can cause sudden, uncontrollable, dangerous arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs) in response to exercise or stress. Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat” (NHLBI). This syndrome is derived from QT waves having longer intervals than normal. The heart can be monitored on an EKG (electrocardiogram) which maps out 5 different heart waves which are P, Q, R, S, and T. The QT waves are the ones affected by LQTS because the electrical activity between the two Q and T waves known as the QT interval lasts longer than normal, causing the heart to have dangerous heart rhythms. These dangerous heart rhythms are what create the sometimes life threatening symptoms that make this heart disorder so serious.
Symptoms of LQTS:
HOW COMMON IS LQTS?
Like many of you, I had no idea what this heart disorder was until I learned about Matthew having it. I soon discovered that it was more common than I had thought. Passed through genetics, it is common for LQTS to be found in families as seen with Matthew and Nate both having the heart disorder. Another one of my friends, Jake Lawlor, learned he also had Long QT when his brother suffered a seizure out of the blue and they tested the whole family. Although Jake is currently asymptomatic he has told me that he still must take extra precautions that interfere with his everyday life. He told me, “I have to take pills every morning that help regulate my heart. There’s a lot of medications/substances that I can’t take because it risks messing up my heart. Even though I’m asymptomatic, I still pay closer attention to how I’m feeling during physical activities, and I always like to make sure I’m around at least one person who knows what I have in a worst-case scenario.” It is the unknown that makes this heart disorder so threatening. The hardest part about diagnosing Long QT is that it goes unnoticed in people until they show symptoms which in severe cases leads to death. Researchers have stated that “about 1 in 7,000 people has LQTS. But no one knows for sure, because LQTS often goes undiagnosed.” This is the danger of Long QT and why it can be severe and unexpected, just as when Matthew passed away so suddenly overnight and changed everyones’ lives forever.
HOW TO DETECT & PREVENT DEATH FROM LQTS
Experts say, “LQTS causes about 3,000 to 4,000 sudden deaths in children and young adults each year in the United States.” This is a great number that you can help prevent in your home or in others. The main way to diagnose Long QT is through EKG screening which is when the electrical activity and waves from the heart are measured by an electrocardiogram. Having an EKG done can help catch this disorder before it can show its symptoms. Sadly, this test is not part of a standard wellness protocol around the world.
However, there is still something you can do to prevent LQTS from being life-taking. Locating and understanding how to use AED’s (automated external defibrillator) and knowing how to do CPR can save lives. It is crucial that we all learn and understand this practice. The Lovin’ Every Day Foundation website offers classes led by Anne LeMoyne where you can become certified in CPR and gifted with the knowledge of saving lives for life! Even if you cannot attend a class it takes only minutes out of your day to learn on Youtube or other certified websites and can save the life of anyone and prevent their loved ones from having the heartbreak of losing a relative or friend just as we all experienced with losing Matthew.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
I cannot bring my friend back; however, there are plenty of ways that I try to help others in the same situation that you can do too. The first place to start is by taking part of this foundation in any way you wish. Helping the foundation is an easy step that starts with simply buying the Lovin’ Every Day apparel or signing up to attend the casino themed benefit on 9/19/2020 later this year. The money you spend goes to an amazing cause of helping families and people in need of an AED. Lovin’ Every Day strives to reach the families in most need by buying and delivering to them an AED that can save the life of someone with a heart disorder.
Lastly, to honor the memory of Matthew, remember to love every day and do what you can to protect the hearts of the ones you love.